DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
RAY LYMAN WILBUR, SECRETARY
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
HORACE M. ALBRIGHT. DIRECTOR
CAMPING SCENE. YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 1930
A. Dean and Jean M. Larsen
Yellowstone Park Collection
AI PARKS AT A GLANCE
!2; total area, 12,183 square miles]
3 1197 22165 9508
South central Alaska-
West central Wash-
South Dakota. .
The group of granite mountains upon Mount
Desert Island and also bold point on opposite
mainland across Frenchmans Bay— Formerly
called the Lafayette National Park.
Box canyon filled with countless array of fantas-
tically eroded pinnacles— Best exhibit of vivid
coloring of earth's materials.
Contains stupendous caverns, not yet wholly ex-
plored, with magnificent limestone decorations.
Lake of extraordinary blue in crater of extinct
volcano— Sides 1,000 feet high— Interesting lava
formations— Fine fishing.
Created to preserve the celebrated General Grant
Tree, 40.3 feet in diameter— 31 miles by trail
from Sequoia National Park.
Rugged mountain region of unsurpassed alpine
character— 250 glacier-fed lakes of romantic
beauty — 60 small glaciers— Precipices thou-
sands of feet deep— Almost sensational scenery
of marked individuality— Fine trout fishing.
The greatest example of erosion and the most
sublime spectacle in the world.
Includes most spectacular portion of Teton
Mountains, a granite uplift of unusual
Interesting volcanic areas— Kilauea and Mauna
Loa, active volcanoes on the island of Hawaii;
Haleakala, a huge extinct volcano on the island
46 hot springs said to possess healing properties-
Many hotels and boarding houses— 19 bath-
houses under Government supervision. Re-
served by Congress in 1832 as the Hot Springs
Reservation to prevent exploitation of hot
Only active volcano in United States proper—
Lassen Peak, 10,453 feet— Cinder cone, 6,913
feet— Hot springs— Mud geysers.
Most notable and best preserved prehistoric cliff
dwellings in United States, if not in the world.
Highest mountain in North America— Rises
higher above surrounding country than any
other mountain in the world.
Largest accessible single peak glacier system; 28
glaciers, some of large size; 48 square miles of
glacier, 50 to 500 feet thick— Wonderful subal-
pine wild-flower fields.
Sulphur and other springs possessing medicinal
Heart of the Rockies— Snowy range, peaks 11,000
to 14,255 feet altitude— Remarkable records of
The Big Tree National Park— Scores of sequoias
20 to 30 feet in diameter, thousands over 10 feet
in diameter, General Sherman Tree, 37.3 feet
in diameter and 273.9 feet high— Towering
mountain ranges— Startling precipices— Mount
Whitney and Kern River country.
Small park with woods, streams, and a lake— Is
a wild-animal preserve.
Cavern having several miles of galleries and
numerous chambers containing peculiar forma-
More geysers than in all rest of world together-
Boiling springs— Mud volcanoes— Petrified for-
ests—Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, re-
markable for gorgeous coloring— Large lakes-
Many large streams and waterfalls— Vast wil-
derness, one of the greatest wild bird and ani-
mal preserves in the world — Exceptional trout
Valley of world-famed beauty— Lofty cliffs-
Romantic vistas— Many waterfalls of extraor-
dinary height— 3 groves of Big Trees— High
Sierra— Waterwheel Falls— Good trout fishing.
Magnificent gorge (Zion Canyon), depth from
1,500 to 2,500 feet, with precipitous walls— Of
great beauty and scenic interest.
1. The national parks 1
II. Yellowstone National Park 9
III. Yoseinite National Park 15
IV. Sequoia and General Grant National Parks 19
V. Mount Rainier National Park 23
VI. Crater Lake National Park 27
VII. Mesa Verde National Park 29
VIII. Glacier National Park 33
IX. Rocky Mountain National Park 37
X. Hawaii National Park 42
XI. Lassen Volcanic National Park 45
XII. Mount McKinley National Park 47
XIII. Grand Canyon National Park 49
XIV. Acadia National Park 53
XV. Hot Springs National Park 55
XVI. Zion National Park 56
XVII. Bryce Canyon National Park __ 58
XVIII. Grand Teton National Park 60
XIX. Carlsbad Caverns National Park 62
XX. Other national parks 05
3566°— 30 1 T
A publication similar to this, entitled " Glimpses of Our National
Monuments," may be obtained free of charge upon application to
the Director of the National Park Service, Interior Department,
Washington, D. C.
Another interesting publication on the national parks and national
monuments is the National Parks Portfolio, which contains nine
chapters, each descriptive of a national park, and one larger chapter
devoted to other parks and monuments. This publication, which
contains 270 pages, including 310 illustrations, is bound securely in
cloth. It is sold by the Superintendent of Documents, Government
Printing Office, for $1 a copy.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
RAY LYMAN WILBUR, Secretary
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
HORACE M. ALBRIGHT, Director
GLIMPSES OF OUR NATIONAL PARKS
THE NATIONAL PARKS
THE national parks are areas which Congress has set apart,
because of extraordinary scenic beauty, remarkable phenomena,
or other unusual qualification, for the use and enjoyment of the
people for all time. They are administered by the National Park
These are not parks in the common meaning of the word. They
are not beautiful tracts of cultivated country with smooth lawns
and winding paths like Central Park in New York, or Lincoln Park
in Chicago, or Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. They are, on the
contrary, large areas which nature, not man, has made beautiful
and which the hand of man alters only enough to provide roads to
enter them, trails to penetrate their fastnesses, and hotels and camps
to live in.
Secretary Work defined the national park system in the following
Our existing national park system is unequaled for grandeur. Additional
areas when chosen should in every respect measure up to the dignity, prestige,
and standard of those already established. Proposed park projects should
contain scenery of distinctive quality or some natural features so extraordinary
or unique as to be of national interest and importance, such as typical forms
of natural architecture as those only found in America. Areas considered for
national parks should be extensive and susceptible of development so as to
permit millions of visitors annually to enjoy the benefits of outdoor life and
contact with nature without confusion from overcrowding.
(This circular was originally prepared by Robert Sterling Yard while editor,
National Park Service, and has been revised and brought up to date by Isabelle
F. Story, the present editor.)
Z OUR NATIONAL PARKS
There are now 22 national parks. Every person living in the
United States ought to know about his national parks and visit them
when possible, for, considered together, they contain more features of
conspicuous grandeur than are readily accessible in all the rest of the
world together ; while, considered individually, there are few, if any,
celebrated scenic places within easy reach abroad which are not
equaled or excelled in America; even the far-famed Swiss Alps are
equaled, and, some travelers believe, far excelled, by the scenery of
several of our own national parks.
SCENERY OF THE FIRST ORDER
At the same time there are many features of American scenery
which are not to be found anywhere else, or, if found, are unequaled
abroad in sublimity or beauty. There are more geysers of large size
in our Yellowstone National Park, for instance, than in all the rest
of the world together, the nearest approach being the geyser fields
of Iceland and far New Zealand. Again, it is conceded the world
over that there is no valley in existence so strikingly beautiful as our
Yosemite Valley, and nowhere else can be found a canyon of such
stupendous size and exquisite coloring as our Grand Canyon of the
Colorado. In the Sequoia National Park grow trees so huge and old
that none quite compare with them. Mount McKinley, in Alaska,
rises 17,000 feet from the ground on which the observer stands to its
ice-clad summit among the clouds. These are well-known facts with
which every Anierian ought to be familiar.
EACH A PERSONALITY OF ITS OWN
One of the striking and interesting features of the national parks
of our country is that each one of them is quite different from all the
others; each has a marked personality of its own.
Mount Rainier, in Washington, for example, is an extinct volcano,
down the sides of which flow 28 glaciers, or rivers of ice.
Crater Lake, in Oregon, fills with water of astonishing blue the hole
left when the top of Mount Mazama, another volcano in the same
chain as Mount Rainier, was swallowed up in some far distant past.
The Yosemite National Park, in California, in addition to its
celebrated Yosemite Valley and lofty waterfalls, has in the north a
river called the Tuolumne which spouts wheels of water 20 feet and
more into the air. It has great areas of snow-topped mountains.
The Sequoia National Park, also in California, contains great
numbers of sequoia trees, of which scores are from 20 to 30 feet in
OTJB NATIONAL PARES
diameter and some even larger, while thousands are over 10 feet.
Measure 30 feet on the sidewalk and see what that means. The
General Grant Park preserves the celebrated General Grant tree.
The Glacier National Park, in Montana, was made by the earth
cracking in some far-distant time and one side thrusting up and
Photograph by PillsbUry
The Highest Waterfall in the World, Yosemite National Pabk
The Upper Yosemite Fall drops 1,430 feet sheer, nearly as high as 1) Niagaras
piled one above the other. The Lower Yosemite Fall drops 320 feet. Their
combined height, including intermediate cascades and rapids, is half a mile.
4 OUR NATIONAL PARKS
overlapping the other. It has cliffs several thousand feet deep, and
more than 60 glaciers feed hundreds of lakes. One lake floats ice-
bergs all summer.
The Yellowstone National Park, in Wyoming, besides its geysers,
has many hot springs which build glistening plateaus of highly
colored mineral deposits. It has a canyon gorgeous with all the
colors and shades of the rainbow, and it is one of the greatest wild-
The Rocky Mountain National Park, in Colorado, straddles the
Continental Divide at a lofty height, with snow-capped mountains
extending from end to end. Its glacier records are remarkable.
The Mesa Verde National Park, in Colorado, hides in its deep-cut
canyons the well-preserved ruins of a civilization which passed out
of existence so many centuries ago that not even tradition recalls its
The Mount McKinley National Park, in Alaska, incloses a moun-
tain higher above the near observer than any other mountain in the
world ; its caribou run in herds of a thousand or more.
The Hawaii National Park, Hawaiian Islands, besides its three
volcanic peaks, possesses, the greater part of the time, a lake of
boiling lava which may be photographed at night by its own light.
The Grand Canyon National Park, in Arizona, exhibits the might-
iest chasm by far in the world. It is one of the world's great
The Acadia National Park, in Maine, formerly called the Lafayette,
exhibits some of the oldest granite mountains in America. It is
remarkable for its exquisite beauty, combining sea and land, and for
its remarkable variety and luxuriance of trees and shrubs.
The Lassen Volcanic National Park, in California, includes Lassen
Peak, the only active volcano in Continental United States, excluding
The Hot Springs National Park, in Arkansas, contains 46 hot
springs whose waters are said to possess healing properties. It is
the Spa of America.
The Zion National Park, in southwestern Utah, exhibits in Zion
Canyon a canyon of vivid coloring not dissimilar in conformation
to the Yosemite Valley. It is in truth the Rainbow of the Desert.
Bryce Canyon National Park, also in Utah, contains an amphi-
theater filled with fantastically eroded pinnacles vividly colored.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park, in southeastern New Mexico,
has stupendous caverns, not yet wholly explored, with magnificent
The Grand Teton National Park in northwestern Wyoming in-
cludes the most spectacular portion of the Teton Mountains, a granite
uplift of unusual grandeur.
OUR NATIONAL PARKS
The Wind Cave National Park, with its limestone cavern of large
size and interesting decorations, is one of the notable attractions of
the Black Hills of South Dakota.
The Piatt National Park, in southern Oklahoma, contains curative
springs, while the Sullys Hill National Park, in North Dakota, is
a wooded area used partly as a wild-animal preserve.
AN ECONOMIC ASSET
It is plain that our national parks, with very few exceptions, have
a quality so unusual that they are destined some day to become more
celebrated internationally than the Swiss Alps are to-day. When
that time comes they will constitute an economic asset of incalculable
value ; they will become a maker of much good business in many lines
, of industry besides transportation, and a source of enormous national
income; they already are entering this era. The Alps exhibit only
granite scenery, while our national parks show the full range of
granitic, volcanic, and sedimentary scenery in world-famous examples.
HOTELS, LODGES, AND CAMPS
The map on the inside back cover will show where the national
parks are located. All of those in the United States proper are upon
lines of railways and are easily reached by automobile over good
roads from any part of the country. Each of them is in charge of a
resident superintendent, who has under his charge enough park
rangers to protect the forests from fire, the wild animals from
hunters, and the visitors from harm. There are good roads in the
parks, and hotels or lodges, or both, where visitors may stay to enjoy
the scenery and study nature. Free camp grounds are provided for
motorists and others who bring their own camp equipment. Trails
are built to the waterfalls, up the highest mountains, and, in short,
wherever especially fine views may be found. Over these trails
visitors may walk or ride on horseback as they prefer.
Many of the hotels are fine ones where every luxury may be had
by those who insist upon luxuries even in the wilderness. There
are often cheaper hotels also, and in the lodges visitors may live very
comfortably indeed and quite economically. One may go to these
lodges just as to a hotel, only he is assigned a comfortable tent or
room in a cabin instead of a hotel room, and eats his meals in a big
central building, which also contains a general living room. At
night a camp fire is built, and all gather around it to sing and tell
stories. Many persons who can easily afford the luxury of hotels live
in the lodges from preference.
Free public automobile camps also have been provided for motor
campers. In some of these camp grounds housekeeping cabins may
be rented and cafeteria service is available. Water, electric lighting,
and sanitary conveniences are furnished, as well as firewood and in
some places open fireplaces for cooking.
6 OUH NATIONAL PARKS
The National Park Service, which has supervision over the national
parks, is trying to make them popular and comfortable and avail-
able for people of all degrees of income.
Not only are these parks the best and most fully patronized health
and pleasure resorts in the United States but they are becoming great
centers of nature study. In the national parks only is nature most
carefully conserved exactly as designed. No trees are cut down for
lumber, as in the national forests outside the parks, but are allowed
to reach their utmost size and age. No animals are killed except
occasionally mountain lions and other predatory beasts which destroy
the deer and young elk. Here, then, the student and the lover of
nature may study nature in her pristine beauty and under conditions
which elsewhere exist only in the few remote lands not yet invaded
To these national parks, then, the National Park Service invites
students, amateur and professional alike.
NATIONAL PARKS AND NATIONAL FORESTS
One must not confuse the national forests with the national parks.
The national forests aggregate many times the area of the national
parks. They were created to administer lumbering and grazing
interests for the people; the lumbering, instead of being done by
private interests often ruthlessly for private profit, as in the past, is
now done under regulations which conserve the public interest. The
trees are cut in accordance with the principles of scientific forestry,
which conserve the smaller trees until they grow to a certain size,
thus perpetuating the forests. Sheep, horses, or cattle graze in all
pastures under governmental regulation, while in national parks
cattle may be admitted only where not detrimental to the enjo}^ment
and preservation of the scenery. Regular hunting is permitted in
season in the national forests, but never in the national parks. In
short, the national parks, unlike the national forests, are not prop-
erties in a commercial sense, but natural preserves for the rest,
recreation, and education of the people. They remain under nature's
own chosen conditions. They alone maintain " the forest primeval."
The national forests are administered by the Forest Service of the
Department of Agriculture. Congress has placed the national parks
and national forests under the control of different executive bureaus
in order that two services dealing with areas so similar in kind and
location may the more surely maintain their individualities and often
widely different points of view.
THE NATIONAL MONUMENTS
In addition to the national parks, there are a number of other
reservations called " national monuments." Most of these are ere-
OUli NATIONAL PARKS 7
ated by presidential proclamation under the American antiquities
act because they contain " historic landmarks " or " prehistoric struc-
tures," or because they possess " historic or scientific interest."
National Parks, on the other hand, are preserved primarily for
their unusual scenery, and are created only by Congress to be de-
veloped for the use of the people. The majority of the national
monuments are conserved and protected only. Most of the national
monuments are under the jurisdiction of the Department of the
Interior, although some are in charge of the Department of Agri-
culture and the War Department.
HUNTING WITH THE CAMERA
Lovers of sport also find their national parks rich fields of pleas-
ure, provided they do their hunting only with the camera. This is
encouraged, and there are no other places in the world where wild
animals may be approached so closely. In the Yellowstone, where
shooting has been strictly prohibited since 1894, one may with reason-
able care and precaution photograph deer at close quarters, and
approach elk and antelope, and even moose and bison, near enough
for good pictures.
BIRDS AND WILD ANIMALS
The lesson of the Yellowstone is that wild animals greatly fear
man only when man is cruel and murderous. Another lesson from
national parks' experience is that practically no wild animal will
injure human beings except in self-defense. The monster cat of our
rock fastnesses — the mountain lion — big enough and powerful enough
to drag down a full-grown elk, is one of the most timid of all the
beasts in the national parks, fleeing at great speed at the first sight
or scent of man.
The national parks cover a great area, 7,796,953 acres in all. If
all were put together it would mean an area of 12,183 square miles.
EDUCATIONAL AND INSPIRATIONAL VALUE
It will be apparent that our national parks serve other and far
nobler purposes than merely to contribute importantly to the recrea-
tional opportunity of the people. Of course, they are playgrounds
of high order — the highest order, in fact. But also, and more im-
portantly, they are museums of the mighty past of the earth's mak-
ing; exhibits upon an enormous scale of the operation of the titanic
forces which shaped and still are shaping this land; areas for the
conservation of the native wild life, animal and vegetable, of Amer-
ica; and, because of these functions, and of their attributes of
8 OUR NATIONAL PARKS
majesty and sublimity besides, they are fountains of inspiration alike
to education, patriotism, and the impulses to art and literature.
Men return from our mountain tops better shopkeepers and tailors,
as well as better teachers, lawyers, and painters.
One's enjoyment of the national parks, and in fact of all natural
scenery, depends to some extent on one's knowledge of the elementary
facts of geology and biology. Nothing is more easily and pleasantly
acquired, for what most persons suppose are dull sciences are, in
their simplified outlines, most interesting to study and fascinating to
apply to nature's tremendous examples.
A corps of naturalists is maintained in a number of the parks for
the express purpose of aiding visitors in understanding the mani-
festations of nature exhibited in the area.
THE ANATOMY OF SCENERY
Geology is the anatomy of scenery. It is as necessary for the com-
prehension and appreciation of scenery as a general knowledge of
anatomy is to the painter of the human figure in action and to the
critic of his painting. Therefore take with you to your national
parks some knowledge of the great forces which nature uses in world
making and how she applies them to the shaping of the several great
classes into which scenery is divided, and your enjoyment will be
increased manyfold. Consider this knowledge as a necessary part
of your equipment, to be carefully acquired in advance, as your shoes
and khaki and contour map.
The United States Geological Survey has~made admirable con-
tour maps of nearly all of the national parks within the borders of the
United States. It is easy to learn to read these maps. Every
mountain, lake, and stream which has an authoritative name is there
named and the contour lines conform accurately with the surface,
enabling the traveler instantly to reckon any altitude for himself.
The contour-map habit is easy to acquire and is the source of keen
enjoyment and of intimate knowledge which may be obtained in no
These maps may be had from the superintendent of the park, but
it will save time and trouble to write in advance for them to the
United States Geological Survey, at Washington, D. C. There is a
The following descriptions of our national parks are not intended
to be exhaustive. In each, those characteristics are emphasized
OUR NATIONAL PARKS 9
which individualize the park, distinguishing it from others. Any
person who w T ishes to know the particular traveling and living facili-
ties in any national park and the expense of a visit therein, should
write to the Director, National Park Service, Washington, D. C,
for the information circular of the particular national park in which
he is interested. It will be sent free.
Those who want information about reaching the national parks by
rail, fares, etc., should apply to local railroad ticket offices or to any
tourist agency. Those wanting information about reaching the
parks by automobile should apply to national, State, or local auto-
THE YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK
Special Characteristics: Geysers and Hot Springs; Wonderfully Colored
Canyon; Large Wild Bird and Animal Refuge
THE Yellowstone National Park, which lies principally in
Wyoming, is the most widely celebrated of all our national
parks because it contains more and greater geysers than all the rest
of the world together. The geyser fields next in size are in Iceland
and New Zealand. The rest are inconspicuous.
To comprehend the Yellowstone w r e must begin with its making.
The entire region is of volcanic origin. The mountains around it on
both sides and the mountains within it are products or remainders
of great volcanoes of the far past ; and the great plateaus, from which
spring its geysers and hot springs and through whose forests now
roam so many wild animals, are composed of the ash and disinte-
grated lavas which were once ejected from these volcanoes.
One peculiarly fascinating glimpse of Yellowstone's tempestuous
past is afforded in the petrified forest of the Specimen Kidge neigh-
borhood, where many levels of upright petrified trunks may be
found alternating, like the layers in a cake, with levels of lava;
which plainly shows that after the first forest grew on the volcano's
slope and w T as engulfed by a fresh run of lava, enough time elapsed
for a second forest to grow upon that level, and that this in turn was
engulfed with new lava to make the level for another forest, and so
on. There is a cliff 2,000 feet high composed wholly of these alter-
nate levels of engulfed forests and the lavas which engulfed them.
Geysers are, roughly speaking, water volcanoes. They occur only
at places where the internal heat of the earth approaches close to the
surface. Their action, for so many years unexplained and even now
10 OUR NATIONAL PARKS
regarded with wonder by so many, is simple. Water from the sur-
face trickling through cracks in the rocks, or water from subter-
ranean springs collecting in the bottom of the geyser's crater, down
among the strata of intense heat, becomes itself intensely heated and
gives off steam, which expands and forces upward the cooler water
that lies above it. This makes room for the more rapid formation
of steam which immediately gathers under enormous pressure.
It is then that the water at the surface of the geyser begins to
bubble and give off clouds of steam, the sign to the watchers above
that the geyser is about to play.
At last the water in the bottom reaches so great an expansion
under continued heat that the less heated water above can no longer
weigh it down, so it bursts upward with great violence, rising many
feet in the air and continuing to play until practically all the water
in the crater has been expelled. Spring water, or the same water
cooled and falling back to the ground, again seeps through the sur-
face to gather as before in the crater's depth, and in a greater or less
time, according to difficulties in the way of its return, becomes
reheated to the bursting point, when the geyser spouts again.
THE HOT-WATER PHENOMENA
Nearly the entire Yellowstone region, covering an area of 3,42G
square miles, is remarkable for its hot-water phenomena. The
more important geysers are confined to three basins lying near each
other in the middle west side of the park, but other hot-water mani-
festations occur at more widely separated points. Marvelously col-
ored hot springs, mud volcanoes, and other strange phenomena are
frequent. At Mammoth Hot Springs the hot water has brought to
the surface quantities of white mineral deposits which build terraces
of beautifully incrusted basins high up into the air, often engulfing
trees of considerable size. Over the edges of these carved basins
pours the hot water. Microscopic plants called alga? grow on the
edges and sides of these basins, assisting the deposition of the mineral
matter and painting them hues of red and pink and bluish gray.
At many other points lesser hot springs occur, introducing strange,
almost uncanny, elements into wooded and otherwise quite normal
A tour of these hot-water formations and spouting geysers is an
experience never to be forgotten. Some of the geysers play at quite
regular intervals. The celebrated Old Faithful, the tourists' friend,
plays often and with regularity. It had the honor of welcoming the
first explorer, and never since that day has it failed any tourist.
Some of the largest geysers play at irregular intervals of days, weeks,
or months. Some very small ones play every few minutes. Many
OUR NATIONAL PARKS 11
bubbling hot springs, which throw water 2 or 3 feet into the air once
or twice a minute, are really small, imperfectly formed geysers.
The hot-spring terraces are also a rather awe-inspiring spectacle
when seen for the first time. The visitor may climb upon them
and pick his way around among the steaming pools. In certain
lights the surface of these pools appears vividly colored. The deeper
hot pools are often intensely green. The incrustations are often
beautifully crystallized. Clumps of grass, and even flowers, which
have been submerged in the charged waters become exquisitely
plated, as if with frosted silver.
But the geysers and hot-water formations are by no means the
only wonders in the Yellowstone. Indeed, the entire park is a won-
derland. The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone affords a spectacle
worthy of a national park were there no geysers. But you must
not confuse your grand canyons, of which there are several in our
Avonderful western country. Of these, by far the largest and most
impressive is the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River, in the Grand
Canyon National Park, Ariz. That is the one always meant when
people speak of visiting "the Grand Canyon," without designating
a location. It is the giant of canyons.
GRAND CANYON OF THE YELLOWSTONE
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is altogether different.
What makes it a scenic feature of the first order is its marvelously
variegated volcanic coloring. It is the cameo of canyons.
Standing upon Inspiration Point, which pushes out almost to the
center of the canyon, one looks almost vertically down upon the
foaming Yellowstone River. To the south a waterfall nearly twice
the height of Niagara rushes seemingly out of the pine-clad hills and
pours downward to be lost again in green.
From that point 2 or 3 miles to where you stand and beneath you
widens out a glorious kaleidoscope of color. The steep slopes drop-
ping on either side a thousand feet and more from the pine-topped
levels above are wondrously carved and fretted by the frost and the
erosion of the ages. Sometimes they lie in straight lines at easy
angles, from which jut high rocky prominences. Sometimes they lie
in huge hollows carved from the side walls. Here and there jagged
rocky needles rise perpendicularly for hundreds of feet like groups
of gothic spires.
And the whole is colored as brokenly and vividly as the field of a
kaleidoscope. The whole is streaked and spotted and stratified in
every shade from the deepest orange to the faintest lemon, from deep
crimson through all the brick shades to the softest pink, from black
OUR NATIONAL PARKS
through all the grays and pearls to glistening white. The greens are
furnished by the dark pines above, the lighter shades of growth
caught here and there in soft masses on the gentler slopes and the
foaming green of the plunging river so far below. The blues, ever
changing, are found in the dome of the sky overhead.
It is a spectacle which one looks upon in silence.
There are several spots from which fine partial views may be had,
but no person can say he has seen the canyon who has not stood upon
Inspiration Point. Remember this when you visit the Yellowstone.
Photograph by Hillers
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
WILD ANIMALS LIVING NATURALLY
Another interesting feature of the Yellowstone National Park is its
wild-animal life. It is one of the largest and most successful pre-
serves in the world. Its 3,426 square miles of mountains and valleys
remain nearly as nature made them, for the more than 350 miles of
roads and the 4 hotels and 6 lodges are as nothing in this immense
wilderness. No tree has been cut except when absolutely necessary
for road or trail or camp. No herds of domestic cattle invade its
valleys. No rifle has been fired at a wild animal since 1894, except
by occasional poachers along the border and by the official destroyers
of predatory beasts.
OUR NATIONAL, PARKS
Visitors for the most part keep to the beaten road, and the wild
animals have learned in the years that they mean them no harm. To
be sure they are not always seen by the people filling the long trains
of stages which travel from point to point daily during the season;
but the quiet watcher on the trails may see deer and bear and elk
and antelope to his heart's content, and he may even see mountain
sheep, moose, and bison by journeying on foot or by horseback into
their distant retreats. In the fall and spring, when the crowds are
absent, wild deer gather in great numbers at the hotel clearings to
Photograph by Cribbs
Young Mule Deer in Yellowstone National Park so Tame They
Eat from the Hand of a Child
crop the grass. One of the diversions at the road builders' camps in
the wilderness is cultivating the acquaintance of the animals.
Thus one of the most interesting lessons from the Yellowstone is
that wild animals are fearful and dangerous only when men treat
them as game or as enemies.
BEAR, ELK, MOOSE, DEER, ANTELOPE, AND BISON
The grizzly bear, for instance, is one of the shiest of wild animals,
and may be seen only with difficulty. It lives principally on roots,
berries, nuts, and honey — when honey may be had. It can not climb
trees like the brown bears. Its little ones are born in caves where
14 OUR NATIONAL PARKS
the bears hibernate through the winters and are little larger than
squirrels when they first come into the world.
The brown, cinnamon, and black bears, which, by the way, are the
same species only differently colored — the blondes and brunettes, so
to speak, of the same bear family — are quite different. They are
playful, comparatively fearless, sometimes even friendly. They are
greedy fellows and steal camp supplies whenever they can.
This wild-animal paradise now contains approximately 13,000 elk,
several hundred moose, innumerable deer, many antelope, and a large
and increasing herd of bison.
It is an excellent bird preserve also; more than 200 species live
natural undisturbed lives. Eagles abound among the crags. Wild
geese and ducks are plentiful. Hundreds of large white pelicans add
to the picturesqueness of Yellowstone Lake.
Trout fishing in Yellowstone waters is unexcelled. All three
drainage basins abound in trout, which often attain large size. Yel-
lowstone Lake is the home of large trout, which are freely taken, and
the Yellowstone River and its tributaries yield excellent catches to
the skillful angler. There is good fishing in the other rivers and also
in many lesser lakes. The more accessible waters, however, are fished
so steadily that the trout in them become educated and wary. Back
in the depths of the mountain fastnesses are fish that are much less
disturbed and therefore can be caught more readily. The native
fishes of the park represent only a few species which have been sup-
plemented by a number of others planted by the Government in
barren waters. Park waters now contain some of the best game
DISCOVERY OF THE YELLOWSTONE
The first recorded visit to the Yellowstone was made by John
Colter in 1807. He was returning home alone from the Lewis and
Clark expedition and took refuge there from hostile Indians. His
story of its wonders was discredited.
The next recorded visit was by a trapper named Joseph Meek in
1829, who described it as " a country smoking with vapor from
boiling springs and burning with gases issuing from small craters."
From some of these craters, he said, " issued blue flame and molten
brimstone," which, of course, was not true, though doubtless Meek
fully believed it to be the truth.
OUR NATIONAL PARKS 15
Between 1830 and 1840 Warren Angus Ferris, a clerk in the Amer-
ican Fur Co., wrote the first description of the Firehole Geyser Basin,
but it was not until 1852 that the geyser district was actually
defined and the geysers precisely located. This was done by Father
I)e Smet, the famous Jesuit missionary, who drew much of his infor-
mation about the Yellowstone country from James Bridger, the fa-
mous frontiersman whose strange yarns of the marvels he had there
beheld remained discredited or tabooed by other writers as late as
The first Government expedition was sent out in 1859 under com-
mand of Capt. W. F. Raynolds, but yielded little of accurate
information about the central glories of the Yellowstone. Several
private explorers followed, but so great was public incredulity as
to the marvels they described that they did not dare tell their ex-
periences before any general audiences, for several lecturers had been
stoned in the streets as impostors. The large exploring expedition
under Henry D. Washburn and N. P. Langford, in 1870, finally
established the facts to the public belief and led to the creation of
the Yellowstone National Park.
THE YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK
Special Characteristics: Unique Valley of Unusual Charm, Spectacular
Waterfalls, and an Outlying Granite Wilderness of Marvelous Beauty
THE Yosemite National Park lies west of the crest of the Sierra
Nevada Mountains in middle eastern California. The famous
Yosemite Valley is a small part of this extraordinary holiday gar-
den — a mere crack T or 8 miles long by less than 1 mile wide in 1,139
square miles of scenic wilderness so beautiful and varied that adequate
description reads like romance.
The irregular eastern boundary is the crest of the Sierra, a rampart
of tremendous granite peaks buttressed by pinnacled spurs of nature's
noblest gothic, spattered by snow fields and mimic glaciers, a moun-
tain barrier uncrossable by road except at one point, lofty Tioga
Pass. Westward from the perpetual snows of this stupendous wall
flow a million streams, which converge in two river systems watering
and beautifying the inimitable pleasure ground. One of these
streams passes through that gorge of great celebrity, the Hetch
Hetchy Valley; the other flows through that gorge of greatest
celebrity, the Yosemite Valley.
3566°— 30 2
16 OUR NATIONAL. PARKS
The park includes, in John Muir's words, " the headwaters of the
Tuolumne and Merced Rivers, two of the most songful streams in
the world ; innumerable lakes and waterfalls and smooth, silky lawns ;
the noblest forests, the loftiest granite domes, the deepest ice-sculp-
tured canyons, the brightest crystalline pavements, and snowy moun-
tains soaring into the sky twelve and thirteen thousand feet, arrayed
in open ranks and spiry pinnacled groups partially separated by
tremendous canyons and amphitheaters; gardens on their sunny
brows, avalanches thundering down their long white slopes, cataracts
roaring gray and foaming in the crooked rugged gorges, and glaciers
in their shadowy recesses working in silence, slowly completing their
sculptures; new-born lakes at their feet, blue and green, free or
encumbered with drifting icebergs like miniature Arctic Oceans,
shining, sparkling, calm as stars."
This land of enchantments is a land of enchanted climate. Its
summers are warm, but not too warm; dry, but not too dry; its
nights cold and marvelously starry.
THE VALLEY AND ITS WATERFALLS
Most persons, even visitors, know only the Yosemite Valley. And,
indeed, were there nothing else, the valley itself, small though it is,
would stand in the first rank of national parks. It was discovered
in 1851 by mounted volunteers pursuing Indians into their fast-
nesses. Because of its extraordinary character and quite excep-
tional beauty, it quickly became celebrated; but it was not until
1874 that a road was built into it. Until then it was approached only
No matter what their expectation, most visitors are delightfully
astonished upon entering the Yosemite Valley. The sheer immen-
sity of the precipices on either side of the valley's peaceful floor ; the
loftiness and the romantic suggestion of the numerous waterfalls;
the majesty of the granite walls; and the unreal, almost fairy,
quality of the ever-varying whole can not be successfully foretold.
After the visitor has recovered from his first shock of astonish-
ment — for it is no less — at the supreme beauty of the valley, in-
evitably he wonders how nature made it. However did it happen
that walls so enormous rose so nearly perpendicular from so level
It will not lessen wonder to learn that it was through the slow,
persistent wear of running water and glacier ice that the chasm was
OUR NATIONAL, PARKS
formed. liecently investigations by the United States Geological
Survey have made clear that the valley was cut by the Merced
River to a depth of 2,000 feet before the ice age began, and that the
glaciers then added about 1,000 feet to its depth.
The tremendous amount of work performed by the river was
made possible by the torrential speed to which it was again and
Photograph by Hillers
El Capitan, Yosemite National Park
again accelerated by the successive uplifts of the Sierra Nevada,
which range grew in a relatively short period, as time is reckoned
by geologists, from a height of only 2,000 feet to its present height
of 14,000 feet. The great width of the chasm and the remarkable
vertically of its walls, on the other hand, are distinctly the work of
the glaciers. The ancient Yosemite Glacier, as it forced its way
slowly through the narrow, stream-worn gorge, quarried away and
steepened the sides, thereby producing towering cliffs and trans-
18 OUR NATIONAL PARKS
forming the cascades that poured from the mouths of the lofty
hanging valleys to leaping waterfalls.
The manner of its making explains the extreme loftiness of the
waterfalls which pour over the rim into the valley.
The Yosemite Fall, for instance, drops 1,430 feet in one sheer fall,
a height equal to 9 Niagara Falls piled one on top of the other. The
Lower Yosemite Fall, immediately below, has a drop of 320 feet, or
2 Niagaras more. Vernal Fall has the same height, while Illilouette
Fall is 50 feet higher. The Nevada Fall drops 594 feet sheer; the
celebrated Bridalveil Fall 620 feet, while the Ribbon Fall, highest of
all, drops 1,012 feet sheer, a straight fall ten times as great as Niag-
ara. Nowhere else in the world may be had a water spectacle such
Similarly the sheer summits. Cathedral Rocks rise 2,500 feet per-
pendicular from the valley; El Capitan, 8,604 feet; Sentinel Dome,
4,157 feet; Half Dome, 4,892 feet; Clouds Rest, 5.964 feet.
Among these monsters the Merced sings its winding way.
The falls are at their fullest in May and June while the winter
snows are melting. They still have volume in July, but after that
they decrease rapidly. But let it not be supposed that their beauty
depends upon the amount of water that pours over their brinks. It
is true that the rush of water in the Yosemite Falls is even a little
appalling in May, that sometimes the ground trembles half a mile
away. But it is equally true that in September when, in specially
dry seasons, much of the water of the great fall reaches the bottom
in the shape of mist, the spectacle still possesses a filmy grandeur
not comparable, perhaps, to any sight on earth. The one inspires
wonder by its immensity and power; the other uplifts by its intan-
gible spirit of sheer beauty.
ABOVE THE VALLEY'S RIM
The enormous park area above the valley's rim is less celebrated
principally because it is less known. The acquisition and repair by
the Government in 1915 of the Old Tioga road across the park and
over the Sierra through Tioga Pass made it accessible, and now
trails lead from public camps into the fastnesses of the High Sierra,
making available to the camper-out hundreds of limpid lakes and
rushing trout streams set in a land of delight.
And thus is added to the amazing water spectacle for which the
valley is famous still another kind of Yosemite waterfall destined
to world-wide celebrity. The Tuolumne River, descending sharply
to the head of the Hetch Hetchy Valley, becomes, in John Muir's
phrase, " one wild, exulting, onrushing mass of snowy purple bloom
spreading over glacial waves of granite without any definite channel,
gliding in magnificent silver plumes, dashing and foaming through
OUR NATIONAL PARKS 19
huge bowlder dams, leaping high in the air in wheellike whirls, dis-
playing glorious enthusiasm, tossing from side to side, doubling,
glinting, singing in exuberance of mountain energy."
The crowning feature of this mad spectacle are the water wheels
which rise 20 feet or more into the air when the slanting river strikes
In addition to its many other attractions,, the Yosemite National
Park contains three groves of sequoias, the celebrated "Big Trees of
California." One of these trees, the Grizzly Giant, has a base diam-
eter of 29.6 feet and a height of 204 feet. It is more than 3,000
years old. The automobile road passes through an opening in the
trunk of another, the Wawona tree. Still another living tree is
hollow from bottom to top, so that one may step within it and,
gazing upward, see the sky as through a tube. A few hours in the
red silence of the Mariposa Grove is an experience never to be
Living in the Yosemite is extremely comfortable. There are three
hotels and several permanent lodges and camps. There are camp
grounds where thousands of persons camp out. The valley is the
northern terminus of the John Muir Trail which California has
built southward along the crest of the Sierra as a memorial to her
famous man of letters.
THE SEQUOIA AND GENERAL GRANT NATIONAL PARKS
Special Characteristics: Magnificent Conifer Forests and Many Groves of
California Big Trees (Sequoia Gigantea); Mountain Ranges with Highest
Mountain in the United States Proper, Mount Whitney, 14,496 Feet;
Mighty Canyons; Over 300 Lakes
On the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada in central California
the finest of remaining stands of the Big Trees (Sequoia gigantea)
are forever protected within the Sequoia and General Grant Na-
The California Big Tree or Sequoia gigantea must not be confused
with the smaller species of the sequoia genus, the Coast Redwood or
Sequoia sempervirens. The Big Tree occurs only in the Sierra Nevada
Mountains; the Coast Redwood occurs only in the Coast Range.
They are widely separated geographically and in characteristics and
appearance. Bret Harte in his Ode to a Cone of the Big Tree speaks
of the sempervirens as the "poor relation" of the gigantea. While
this is poetic license it may be said in a general way that the Big
Tree is larger and more colorful than the Coast Redwood ; individual
specimens are more majestic. On the other hand, the Coast Red-
wood is taller and more graceful at maturity. Visitors to California
should by all means see both species and compare them.
20 OUR NATIONAL PARKS
In the Sequoia and General Grant National Parks are thousands
of Big Trees, of which several hundred are more than 10 feet in dia-
meter and 300 feet in height, while some have base diameters between
25 and 37 feet. The oldest of these giants are undoubtedly between
3,000 and 4,000 years old — perhaps even more ancient — the oldest
and largest living things in the world.
There are Sequoia gigantea at other places in the California
Sierra, but by far the greatest number and the largest individual
trees are in the Sequoia National Park and its little neighbor, Gen-
eral Grant. It is scarcely an exaggeration to say that many of the
other groves of Big Trees might be dropped down into the Sequoia
National Park and only the rangers would know that they had
arrived. There are groves innumerable ; and also almost pure stands
of Big Trees in the conifer forests.
It is difficult to grasp the immense size of these giants. For in-
stance it is estimated that in the General Sherman Tree, the largest
of them all, 37.3 feet in diameter at the base, 18.7 feet in diameter
100 feet from the ground, and 273.9 feet in height, there is over a half
million board feet of lumber in the trunk; enough material to build
500 5-room houses. Automobiles and teams have been driven up and
down the trunks of several prostrate Big Trees.
THE OLDEST LIVING THING
But the age of the Big Tree is still more difficult to realize. It is
beyond compare the oldest living thing.
Several of the trees now growing in their prime in the Sequoia
National Park were vigorous youngsters before the pyramids were
built in Egypt and before Babylon was at its zenith. Hundreds of
them were thriving before the heroic ages of ancient Greece, while,
in fact, the rough Indo-Germanic ancestors of the Greeks were still
swarming from the north. Hundreds were lusty youngsters through
all the ages of Greek art and Roman wars. Thousands were flourish-
ing trees when Christ was born in Bethlehem.
Despite its vast age, the mature Big Tree is the embodiment of
serene vigor. No description, says Muir, can give adequate idea of
its majesty, much less of its beauty. He calls it nature's forest
masterpiece. He dwells on its patrician bearing, its suggestion of
ancient stock, its strange air of other days, its thoroughbred look
inherited from the long ago. " Poised in the fullness of strength
and beauty, stern and solemn in mien, it glows with eager enthusias-
tic life to the tip of every leaf and branch and far-reaching root,
calm as a granite dome, the first to feel the touch of the rosy beams
of morning, the last to bid the sun good night."
OUR NATIONAL PARKS
Photograph by II. W. Gleason
The Largest and Oldest Living Thing in the World — the General Sher-
man Tree in the Sequoia National Park, Diameter, 37.3 Feet
OUR NATIONAL PARKS
The Sequoia gigantea are the glory of the Sequoia and General
Grant National Parks. Scattered here and there over large areas,
they cluster chiefly in 13 separate groves, and it is in these groves
that they attain their greatest size and luxuriance.
But these forest monarchs are by no means the only attractions of
the Sequoia National Park, which many frequenters declare nature
has equipped best of all for the joys and pleasures of mountain
Photograph by Geo. F. Belden
One of the true Glacial-hewn Canyons Found within Sequoia
MOUNTAIN AREA OF WILD BEAUTY
For to the east of the big tree groves of the Sequoia National
Park extends an area of unsurpassed mountain granduer, rising along
the eastern boundary of the park to the crest of the High Sierra,
and including Mount Whitney (14,496 feet in elevation), the highest
peak in the United States exclusive of Alaska. Within this wild
area of castellated peaks, and innumerable lakes and streams, includ-
ing the magnificent Kern River Canyon, and embracing more than
40 peaks over 13,000 feet in height, is the ideal vacation land for the
mountaineer, camper, and fisherman. There are 314 lakes within
Innumerable other attractions invite the visitor to these parks,
including magnificent panoramas of mountain, stream, and forest,
glorious flower fields and meadows, tame deer and bear, and an un-
OUR NATIONAL PARKS
THE MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK
Special Characteristic: Complicated Glacial System Flowing From One Peak
N THE northwestern corner of the United States rises, from the
Cascade Mountains, a series of extinct volcanoes, ice clad the
year around. Foremost among them, counting from south to
north, are Mount Shasta in California; Mount Hood in Oregon;
Mount St. Helens, Mount Adams, Mount Rainier, and Mount Baker
in Washington. Once, in the dim ages, when America was making,
Mount Rainier, with South Mowicii Glacier in Center — at Timberline
in Sunset Park
they blazed across the sea like huge beacons. To-day, their fires
quenched, they suggest a stalwart band of knights of the ages, hel-
meted in snow, armored in ice, standing at parade upon a carpet
patterned gorgeously in forests and wild-flowered meadows.
Easily chief of this knightly band is Mount Rainier, a giant tower-
ing 14,408 feet above tidewater in Puget Sound. Home-bound
sailors far at sea mend their courses from his silver summit. Travel-
ers overland catch the sun glint from his shining sides at a distance
of more than 150 miles.
This mountain has a glacier system far exceeding in size and
impressive beauty that of any other in the United States. From its
24 OUR NATIONAL PARKS
summit and cirques 28 named rivers of ice pour slowly down its
sides. There are others unnamed. Seen upon the map, as if from
an airplane, one thinks of it as an enormous frozen octopus stretching
icy tentacles down upon every side among the rich gardens of wild
flowers and splendid forests of fir and cedars below.
BIRTH OF THE GLACIERS
Every winter the moisture-laden winds from the Pacific, suddenly
cooled against its summit, deposit upon its top and sides enormous
snows. These, settling in the mile- wide crater which was left after
a great explosion in some prehistoric age carried away perhaps 2,000
feet of the volcano's former height, press with overwhelming weight
down the mountain's sloping sides.
Thus are born the glaciers, for the snow under its own pressure
quickly hardens into ice. Through 28 valleys, self-carved in the
solid rock, flow these rivers of ice, as they may be roughly called,
now turning, as rivers of water turn, to avoid the harder rock strata,
now roaring over precipices like congealed waterfalls, now rippling,
like water currents, over rough bottoms, pushing, pouring relent-
lessly on until they reach those parts of their courses where warmer
air turns them into rivers of water.
There are 48 square miles of these glaciers, ranging in width from
500 feet to a full mile, and in thickness from 50 feet to many
hundreds, perhaps even more than a thousand feet.
ONCE WAS 2,000 FEET HIGHER
Mount Rainier is nearly 3 miles high, measured from sea level.
It rises nearly 2 miles above its immediate base. Once it was a
complete cone like the famous Fujiyama, the sacred mountain of
Japan. Then it was probably 16,000 feet high. " Then," says F. E.
Matthes, " a great explosion followed that destroyed the top part
of the mountain and reduced its height by some 2,000 feet. The
volcano was left beheaded."
Indian legends tell of a great eruption.
The national park, which incloses Mount Rainier, is about 18
miles square, containing 325 square miles. It is easily reached by
railroad and automobile from neighboring cities. An automobile
road enables stages to bring visitors to beautiful Paradise Valley,
whose flowered slopes are bordered by the great Nisqually, Paradise,
and Stevens Glaciers. One may reach this point in four hours from
Tacoma and return the same day. But it is a spot where the visitor
may well spend weeks. A road recently completed opens up the
northwest section in the Carbon Glacier region.
OUR NATIONAL, PARKS
The Nisqually Glacier is the best known, though by no means the
largest of the glaciers. It is 5 miles long and at Paradise Valley
is half a mile wide. Glistening white and fairly smooth at its shin-
ing source on the mountain's summit, its surface here is soiled with
dust and broken stone and squeezed and rent by terrible pressure
into fantastic shapes. Innumerable crevasses or cracks many feet
deep break across it, caused by the more rapid movement of the
glacier's middle than its edges; for glaciers, again like rivers of
water, develop swifter currents nearer midstream.
Professor Le Conte tells us that the movement of Nisqually Glacier
in summer averages, at midstream, about 16 inches a day. It is far
Automobile Road at Base of Mount Rainier
less at the margins, its speed being retarded by the friction of the
It is one of the great pleasures of a visit to Mount Rainier National
Park to wander over the fields of snow and climb out on the Nis-
qually Glacier and explore its crevasses and ice caves.
Like all glaciers, the Nisqually gathers on its surface masses of
rock with w T hich it strews its sides, just as rivers of water strew their
banks with logs and floating debris. These are called lateral mo-
raines, or side moraines. Sometimes glaciers build lateral moraines
miles long and many feet high, as you will see when you visit the
Mount Rainier National Park.
26 OUR NATIONAL PARKS
The rocks which are carried in midstream to the end of the glacier
and dropped when the ice melts form a terminal moraine.
The end, or snout, of the glacier thus always lies among a great
mass of rocks and stones. The Nisqually River flows from a cave in
the end of the Nisqually Glacier's snout, for the melting begins
miles upstream under the glacier. The river is the color of the rock
Avhen it first appears, because it carries sediment and powdered rock,
which, however, it deposits in time, becoming quite clear.
There are many glaciers as large and larger than the Nisqually,
but they are little known because so hard to reach. The National
Park Service has now completed trails around the great ice moun-
tain and all of these glaciers are now accessible.
CREATURES LIVING IN THE ICE
Many interesting things might be told of these glaciers were there
space. For example, several species of minute insects live in the
ice, hopping about like tiny fleas. They are harder to see than the
so-called sand fleas at the seashore because much smaller. Slender,
dark-brown worms live in countless millions in the surface ice.
Microscopic rose-colored plants also thrive in such great numbers
that they tint the surface here and there, making what is commonly
called " red snow."
GORGEOUS CARPETING OF ELOWERS
But this brief picture of the Mount Rainier National Park would
miss its loveliest touch without some notice of the wild-flower parks
lying at the base, and often reaching far up betwen the icy fingers
of Mount Rainier. Paradise Valley, Indian Henrys Hunting
Ground, Spray Park, Summerland — such are the names given to
some of these beauty spots.
Let John Muir, the celebrated naturalist, describe them here.
"Above the forests," he writes, " there is a zone of the loveliest
flowers, 50 miles in circuit and nearly 2 miles wide, so closely planted
and luxuriant that it seems as if nature, glad to make an open space
between woods so dense and ice so deep, were economizing the
precious ground and trying to see how many of her darlings she can
get together in one mountain wreath — daisies, anemones, geraniums,
columbine, erythroniums, larkspurs, etc., among which we wade
knee-deep and waist-deep, the bright corollas in myriads touching
petal to petal. All together this is the richest subalpine garden I
have ever found, a perfect floral elysium."
OUR NATIONAL PARKS 27
THE CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK
Special Characteristic: Lake of Great Depth Pilling 1 Collapsed Volcanic
IN THE heart of the Cascade Mountains of our Northwest, whose
volcanoes were in constant eruption in the ages before history,
and now, extinct and ice plated, shine like huge diamonds in the
sunlight, there lies, jewel-like in a setting of lava, a lake of unbe-
Crater Lake and Wizard Island
lievable blue. The visitor who comes suddenly upon it stands silent
with emotion, overcome by its quite extraordinary beauty and by a
strange sense of mystery which even the unimaginative feel keenly
and which increases rather than decreases with familiarity.
This is Crater Lake.
One of the very largest of these ancient volcanoes was Mount
Mazama. It stood in the southwestern part of what is now Ore-
gon, 200 miles south of Mount Rainier and nearly as lofty. It was
about the height of Mount Shasta, in plain sight of which it rose
nearly a hundred miles to its north.
28 OUR NATIONAL PARKS
But this was ages ago. No human eyes ever saw Mount Mazama.
Long before man came the entire upper part of it in some titanic
cataclysm fell in upon itself as if swallowed by a subterranean cav-
ern, leaving its craterlike lava sides cut sharply downward into the
What a spectacle that must have been !
The first awful depth of this vast hole no man can guess. But the
volcano was not quenched; it burst up through the collapsed lavas
in three places, making lesser cones within the greater, but none so
high as the surrounding rim.
Then the fires ceased and gradually, as the years passed, springs
percolated into the vast basin and filled it with water within a thou-
sand feet of its rim. As you see it to-day one of these cones emerges
a few hundred feet from the surface. The lake is 2,000 feet deep in
places. It has no inlet of any sort nor is there any stream running
out of it ; but the water is supposed to escape by underground chan-
nels and to reappear in the Klamath River, a few miles aAvay.
Geologists find Crater Lake of special interest because of the way
nature made it. Many volcanoes have had their tops blown off.
Mount Rainier was one of these. But no other in the United States
has fallen into itself, like Mount Mazama.
The evidence of this process is quite conclusive. The lava found
on the slopes that remain was not blown there from an exploding
summit but ran, hot and fluid, from a crater many thousands of feet
higher. The pitch of these outer slopes enables the scientist to tell
with reasonable probability how high the volcano originally was.
ITS MANY ATTRACTIONS
The park embraces 249 square miles of high cascade country,
a rugged picturesque area. About 80 per cent of its acreage is
beautifully forested, principally with yellow pine, mountain hemlock,
fir, and lodgepole pine. During the spring and summer the exhibit
of wild flowers typical of high altitudes is very interesting. While
the lake, with its inclosing crater wall, is the great central attraction,
there are numerous other points of] interest, including canyons, water-
falls, and some vast panoramas obtainable by ambitious hikers from
the tops of park summits, the highest of which reaches an altitude
of 8,938 feet. The pinnacles, in the canyon of Wheeler Creek near
the east entrance, are annually visited by thousands. Wild life is
abundant and in the main friendly, particularly the native black bear.
OUR NATIONAL PARKS 29
The Rim Road is unlike anything else in the world, being 34 miles
of highway that completely encircles the rim, offering incomparable
views of the lake and the crater, with occasional glimpses of a vast
panorama of southern Oregon and northern California.
The park lies in the center of the great recreational area of south-
ern Oregon, being a hub from which some of America's most famous
fishing streams and lakes may be reached by automobile within two
PHANTOM SHIP AND WIZARD ISLAND
Crater Lake is one of the most beautiful spots in America. The
gray lava rim is remarkably sculptured* The water is remarkably
blue, a lovely turquoise along the edges, and, in the deep parts, seen
from above, extremely dark. The contrast on a sunny day between
the unreal, fairylike rim across the lake and the fantastic sculptures
at one's feet, and, in the lake between, the myriad gradations from
faintest turquoise to deepest Prussian blue, dwells long in the
Unforgettable also are the twisted and contorted lava formations
of the inner rim. A boat ride along the edge of the lake reveals
these in a thousand changes. At one point near shore a mass of
curiously carved lava is called the Phantom Ship, because, seen
at a distance, it suggests a ship under full sail. The illusion at dusk
or by moonlight is striking. In certain slants of light the Phantom
Ship suddenly disappears — a phantom, indeed.
Another experience full of interest is a visit to Wizard Island.
One can climb its sides and descend into its little crater.
THE MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK
Special Characteristic: Prehistoric Cliff Dwellings
WHERE did the Indians come from? That is one of the innu-
merable questions which anthropologists have not yet solved.
Some suggest that they came from Asia by way of Alaska, because
the Eskimo seems somewhat to resemble Mongolians. Others think
they came from Europe by way of Greenland; others that they
came from the South Sea Islands by way of South America.
Perhaps all these theorists are right. In one thing only do they
agree, and that is that, from the Arctic to the Antarctic no matter
SO OUR NATIONAL PARKS
what their tribal or other differences due to varying conditions of
climate and surroundings, all American Indians are of one physical
type with similar mental characteristics and cultural tendencies.
The highest civilization undoubtedly developed in Peru, Central
America, and southern Mexico, where architectural ruins of quite
astonishing beauty are to-day crumbling under the jungle. This
civilization was ruthlessly destroyed during the Spanish conquest
following the discovery of America.
The next highest prehistoric civilization was in our own South-
west, and the remains of its highest special development are the cliff
dwellings of the Mesa Verde in southwestern Colorado, to preserve
Avhich Congress has set apart the Mesa Verde National Park.
When one speaks of the Pueblo Indians he does not mean an Indian
stock or tribe, but merely Indians, possibly of various stocks and
many tribes, who used to live, and a few of whose modern descend-
ants still live, in pueblos or community houses of many rooms hold-
ing entire tribes or villages under one roof. The builders of Mesa
Verde's prehistoric dwellings were of the pueblo type.
BURROWING INTO THE MESAS
Those who have traveled through our Southwestern States have
seen from the car window innumerable mesas or isolated plateaus
rising abruptly for hundreds of feet from the bare and often arid
plains. The word mesa is Spanish for table, and indeed many of
these mesas when seen at a distance may suggest tables to the
Once the level of these mesa tops was the level of all of this vast
southwestern country, but the rains and floods of centuries have
washed away all the softer earth down to its present level, leaving
standing only the rocky spots or those so covered with surface rocks
that the rains could not reach the softer gravel underneath.
All have heard of the Enchanted Mesa in New Mexico which the
Indians of recent times considered sacred. The Mesa Verde, or green
mesa (because it is covered with stunted cedar and piny on trees in a
land where trees are few), is the next most widely known.
The Mesa Verde is one of the largest mesas. It is 15 miles long
and 8 miles wide. At its foot are masses of broken rocks rising from
800 to 500 feet above the bare plains. These are called the talus.
Above the talus yellow sandstone walls rise precipitously two or three
hundred feet higher to the mesa's top.
It stands on the right bank of the Mancos River, down to which
a number of small, rough canyons, once beds of streams, slope from
the top of the mesa. It is in the sides of these small canyons that
the most wonderful and best preserved cliff dwellings in America, if
not in the world, are found to-day.
OUR NATIONAL PARKS 31
LIVING HARD IN" PREHISTORIC TIMES
In prehistoric times a large human population lived in these cliff
dwellings, seeking a home there for protection. They obtained their
livelihood by agriculture on the forbidding tops of the mesa, culti-
vating scanty farms which yielded them small crops of corn.
Life must have been hard in this dry country, when the Mesa
Verde communities flourished in the side of these sandstone cliffs.
Game was scarce and hunting arduous. The Mancos yielded a few
fishes. The earth contributed berries or nuts. At that time, as at
present, water was rare and found only in sequestered places near
the heads of the canyons, but notwithstanding these difficulties the
Photograph by Jesse L. Nusbaum
Cliff Palace in Winter, Mesa Verde National Park
inhabitants cultivated their farms and raised their corn, which they
ground on flat stones called metates, and baked their bread on a flat
stone griddle. They boiled their meat in well-made vessels, some of
which were artistically decorated.
Their life was hard, but so confidently did they believe that they
were dependent upon the gods to make the rain fall and the corn
grow that they were a religious people who worshipped the sun as
the father of all, and the earth as the mother who brought them
all their material blessings. They possessed no written language,
and could only record their thoughts by a few symbols which they
painted on their earthenware jars or scratched on the sides of the cliffs
adjoining their habitations.
3566°— 30 3
32 OUR NATIONAL PARKS
As their sense of beauty was keen, their art, though primitive, was
true ; rarely realistic, generally symbolic. Their decoration of cotton
fabrics and ceramic work might be called beautiful, even when judged
by the highly developed taste of to-day. They fashioned axes,
spear points, and rude tools of stone ; they wove brightly patterned
sandals and made attractive basketry.
They were not content with rude buildings, and had long outgrown
caves or earth homes that satisfied less civilized Indians farther north
and south of them. They shaped stones into regular forms, orna-
mented them with designs, and laid them one on another. Their
masonry resisted destructive forces of centuries of rain and snow
beating upon them.
The Mesa Verde tribes probably had little culture when they first
climbed these precipitous rocks and found shelter, like animals, in
the natural caves under the overhanging floor of the mesa. These
caves were shelters not only from the storm of winter and the burn-
ing sun of summer, but from rapacious human enemies as well ; for
there are evidences of determined warfare among the prehistoric
tribes of our southwest lands.
But with the generations, perhaps the centuries, they made forward
strides. Ladders were substituted for zigzag trails, making their
retreats niore inaccessible, adobe supplemented caves, brick and stone
succeeded adobe, culture succeeded savagery.
DISCOVERY OF THE SUN" TEMPLE
A great mound on the top of the mesa which Doctor Fewkes
unearthed in the summer of 1915 shows that, probably about 1300
A. D., they had begun to emerge from the caves to build upon the
surface, still a further advance in civilization. It is significant that
this building is partially sculptured and architecturally ambitious.
It is still more significant that it was not a house for temporal needs
nor a fortress, but a religious structure. It was a temple to their
god, the sun.
The following year Doctor Fewkes unearthed another great build-
ing on the surface in what is known as the Mummy Lake region
of the park. This was a pueblo, or community living house, and
apparent^ belongs to the period of Sun Temple. This is called
Farview House, because of its commanding situation. There are
other similar mounds.
The remains of this advanced civilization, of quality so greatly
beyond its neighbors, may be seen and studied by all who choose to
visit the Mesa Verde National Park. It is an experience full of
interest and pleasure. There are many canyons, and many ruins in
OUR NATIONAL PARKS 33
each canyon. There are ruins yet unexplored. There are several
mounds, like that under which Sun Temple was discovered, yet
EXPLORATION OF THE MESA VERDE
Two herdsmen, Richard and Alfred Wetherill, while hunting lost
cattle one December day in 1888, discovered these ruins. Coming
to the edge of a small canyon, they saw under the overreaching cliffs
of the opposite side, apparently hanging above a great precipice,
what they thought was a city with towers and walls. They were
astonished beyond measure — and, indeed, even the expectant visitor
of to-day involuntarily exclaims over the beauty of the spectacle.
Later they explored it and called it Cliff Palace — an unfortunate
name, for it was not a palace at all, but a village with 200 rooms for
family living, with 22 kivas, or sacred rooms, for worship. Later
on they found another similar community dwelling, which once
sheltered 350 inhabitants. This they called Spruce Tree House,
because a large spruce tree grew near it. These names have re-
Other explorers followed and many other ruins were found. This
is not the place to name or describe them, but it may be said that
here may be seen the oldest and most fully realized civic-center
scheme in America. City planning, of which we hear so much now,
as if it were a new idea, began in America many centuries ago under
the cliffs of the Mesa Verde.
Antiquities are not the only attractions in the Mesa Yerde Na-
tional Park. Its natural beauties should not be overlooked. In
winter it is inaccessible on account of the deep snows; in some
months it is dry and parched, but in June and July, when rains come,
vegetation is in full bloom, the plants flower, and the grass grows
high in the glades; the trees put forth their new green leaves. The
Mesa Verde is attractive and full of interest for those who love the
unusual and picturesque of mountain scenery.
THE GLACIER NATIONAL PARK
Special Characteristics: Unsurpassed Romantic Scenery; 250 Lakes of
THE Glacier National Park is so named because in the hollow of
its rugged mountain tops lie more than 60 small glaciers, the
remainders of ancient monsters which once covered all but the high-
est mountain peaks. It is in northwestern Montana right up against
the Canadian boundary line, from which, on the map, it appears to
34 OUR NATIONAL PARKS
hang down like a boy's pocket full of the sort of things boys usually
carry there. It is a richly colored land of gigantic cirques, ruggedly
modeled mountains, enormous twisting glacier-scooped valleys, preci-
pices thousands of feet high, innumerable rushing streams, and
hundreds of lakes of unusual romantic beauty. Though all the other
national parks have these general features in addition to others
which differentiate each from the other,, the Glacier National Park
possesses them in unusual abundance and especially happy combina-
tion. In fact, the almost sensational massing of these scenic features
is one of the elements of its marked individuality.
Its geological history is identical with that of the Canadian
Rockies, but the region lies in a much older rock formation. There is
PHOTOGRAPH BY KlSER
Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park
no other scenic area in the world to compare it with except the far
less colorful, much snowier, and much less accessible Canadian Rock-
ies. In richness of beauty it stands alone.
A ROMANCE OF GEOLOGY
How nature made this remarkable area far back in the dim ages
long before man is a stirring story.
In an age of the earth's making which some geologists estimate at
80,000,000 years ago, before the Continent of North America had
emerged in its present outlines from the sea, the shales which now
loom so loftily in Glacier National Park were deposited as sediments
in the waters. Over these muds thick beds of ooze solidified into
limestones, and over the limestones more sediments deposited and
turned to shales. It is these very strata, now hardened into rocks,
that streak so picturesquely the sides of Glacier precipices thousands
OUR NATIONAL PARKS 35
of feet above us. The story of their elevation from deep-sea bottoms
to these giddy heights is a romantic chapter in the making of
The earth has assumed its present proportions through the set-
tling of its masses, and this settling caused great internal pressures.
Often the earth's skin has broken as the skin of the squeezed
orange breaks ; and that is what must have happened where Glacier
National Park now lies. The bottom of the sea, under the enormous
pressure against its sides and from below, gradually rose and became
Then the land at this point, probably because it was pushed hard
by the contracting land masses on both sides of it, rose in long irreg-
ular wavelike masses, forming mountains. Then, when the rock
could no longer stand the awful strain, it cracked, and one edge was
thrust upward and over the other edge and settled into its present
The edge that was thrust over the other was thousands of feet
thick. It crumbled into peaks, precipices, and gorges.
Upon these mountains and precipices the snows and the rains of
uncounted centuries have since fallen, and the ice and the waters
have worn and carved them into the area of distinguished beauty that
is to-day the Glacier National Park.
But mark this : When the western edge of the earth's cracked skin
overthrust the eastern edge, it brought its bottom surface over and
on top of the eastern edge ; and this bottom surface was the oldest
sedimentary rock known, the very same strata of mud and limestone
ooze which were deposited in the sea 80,000,000 years ago. And mark
this also, that the erosion of the years following has washed away
all the deposits of the later geological ages that lay on the top of
these strata, so that this ancient rock here lies fully exposed in all the
glory of its greens and reds and grays, and all the fantastic carv-
ings of the countless years. Of course, the pressures which made the
earth's skin rise and buckle and break made the Rocky Mountains,
which at this point carry the Continental Divide. It is the same
process which has made most of the mountain systems throughout
the world, though there are few overthrusts so great as Glacier's.
The fantastic carving of Glacier National Park was principally
the work of glaciers in the soft rock. Three times did great ice
sheets, wooed south by falling temperatures, descend upon this re-
gion to dig the mighty cirques and scoop the immense valleys, and,
between these visitations and since the last, frost and rain have
chipped and washed and polished. Eating backward into the rocks
from both sides, the glaciers nearly met a thousand times, leaving a
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land of enormous hollows separated by gigantic walls twisting and
winding in all directions.
By these processes during uncountable years nature has created
and decorated this marvelously beautiful region for our enjoyment
SCENES OF EXQUISITE BEAUTY
To picture to yourselves this region, imagine a chain of very
lofty mountains twisting about like a worm, spotted everywhere
with snow fields and bearing glistening glaciers in 60 or more
hollows. Imagine these mountains crumbled and broken on their
east sides into precipices sometimes 3,000 or 4,000 feet deep and
flanked everywhere by castellated walls, lesser peaks, and tumbled
Photograph hy Hilerrran
Two Medicine Lake from Outlet, Glacier National Park
mountain masses of smaller size in whose hollows lie the most
beautiful lakes you have ever dreamed of.
Down from the Continental Divide descend 19 principal valleys,
7 on the east side and 12 on the west. Of course there are very
many smaller valleys tributary to each of these larger valleys.
Through these valleys run the rivers from the glaciers far up on the
PURCHASED FROM THE INDIANS
Many of these valleys are not yet thoroughly known. It is possible
that some of them have never been even entered unless by Indians.
The great Blackfeet Indian Reservation, one of the many tracts of
land set apart for the Indians still remaining in this country, adjoins
OUR NATIONAL, PARKS 37
the Glacier National Park on the east. Northward the park
adjoins the Waterton Lakes Park in Canada.
There are 250 known lakes. There may be small ones in the
wilder parts which white men have not yet even seen.
This region was not visited by white men till 1853, when a Govern-
ment engineer, exploring for a route to the Pacific Ocean, ascended
one of the creeks by mistake and returned when he found that no
railroad could be built there. The next explorers were engineers
who went in to establish the Canadian boundary line in 1861.
In 1890 copper was found and there was a rush of prospectors.
In 1896 Congress bought the land east of the Continental Divide
from the Blackfeet Indians, but there was not enough copper to pay
for the mining. Since then few persons went there but big game
hunters till 1910, when it was made a national park.
There are now several excellent hotels and several chalets on the
east side. The west side is wonderfully beautiful, too, and a hotel
and chalets are found there also.
There are a few good roads for automobiles and many miles of
trail for walking and horseback riding. A railroad touches its
THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
Special Characteristics: Continental Divide; Peaks 11,000 to 14,255 feet
altitude; Heart of the Rockies; Readable Records of Glacial Period
THE Rocky Mountain National Park is in Colorado, about 70
miles by road or rail northwest of Denver. Find Longs Peak
on a good map and you will have the center of the 378 square miles
of snow-topped mountains which constitute the park.
These mountains are part of the Continental Divide, which is the
name given to the irregular line of highest land running north and
south through North America which divides the waters flowing east-
ward into the Atlantic Ocean from those flowing westward into the
Pacific. For this reason the people of Colorado call their mountains
the crest of the continent.
This national park is certainly very high up in the air. The sum-
mer visitors who live at the base of the great mountains, principally
at the beautiful eastern gateway, a little valley town of many hotels,
which is called Estes Park, are 7,600 feet, or a mile and a half, above
the level of the sea ; while the mountains rise precipitously nearly
a mile, and sometimes more than a mile, higher still. Longs Peak,
the biggest of them all, rises 14,255 feet above sea level, and most of
the other mountains in the Snowy Range, as it is sometimes called,
are more than 12,000 feet high ; several are nearly as high as Longs
OUR NATIONAL PARKS
AT TIMBER LINE
The valleys on both sides of this range and those which penetrate
into its recesses are dotted with lovely parklike glades clothed in a
profusion of glowing wild flowers and watered with cold streams
from the mountain snows and glaciers. Forests of pine and silver-
stemmed aspen separate them. Timber line is more than 11,000 feet
above sea level, and up to that point the slopes are covered thick and
close with spruce and fir, growing very straight and very tall.
Just at timber line, where the winter temperature and the fierce
icy winds make it impossible for trees to grow tall, the spruces lie
Courtesy Denver Tourist Bureau
Llly Pads on Lake in Wild Basin
flat on the ground like vines, and presently give place to low birches
which in their turn give place to small piney growths and finally to
tough straggling grass, hardy mosses, and tiny alpine flowers. Grass
grows in sheltered spots even on the highest peaks, which is fortunate
for the large curve-horned mountain sheep which seek these high open
places to escape their special enemies, the mountain lions.
Even at the highest altitude gorgeously colored wild flowers grow
in glory and profusion in sheltered gorges. As late as September
large and beautiful columbines are found in the lee of protecting
masses of snow banks and glaciers.
OUR NATIONAL PARKS 39
Above timber line the bare mountain masses rise from 1,000 to
3,000 feet, often in sheer precipices. Covered with snow in fall,
winter, and spring, and plentifully spattered with snow all summer
long, the vast, bare granite masses, from which, in fact, the Rocky
Mountains got their name, are beautiful beyond description. They
are rosy at sunrise and sunset. During fair and sunny days they
show all shades of translucent grays and mauves and blues. In
some lights they are almost fairylike in their exquisite delicacy.
But on stormy days they are cold and dark and forbidding, bury-
ing their heads in gloomy clouds, from which sometimes they emerge
covered with snow.
Often one can see a thunderstorm born on the square granite head
of Longs Peak. First, out of the blue sky a slight mist seems to
gather. In a few moments, while you watch, it becomes a tiny cloud.
This grows with great rapidity. In five minutes, perhaps, the moun-
tain top is hidden. Then, out of nothing apparently, the cloud
swells and sweeps over the sky, Sometimes in 15 minutes after
the first tiny fleck of mist appears it is raining in the valley and pos-
sibly snowing on the mountain. In half an hour more it has
Standing on the summits of these mountains the climber is often
enveloped in these brief-lived clouds. It is an impressive experi-
ence to look down upon the top of an ocean of cloud from which the
greater peaks emerge at intervals. Sometimes the sun is shining on
the observer upon the heights while it is raining in the valleys be-
low it. It is startling to see lightning below you.
One of the striking features of the Rocky Mountain National Park
is the easy accessibility of these mountain tops. One may mount a
horse after early breakfast in the valley, ride up Flattop to enjoy
one of the great views of the world, and be back for late luncheon.
The hardy foot traveler may make better time than the horse on these
mountain trails. One may cross the Continental Divide from the
hotels of one side to the hotels of the other between early breakfast
and late dinner, or motor between these points via the Fall River
Road in four hours.
In fact, for all-round accessibility there surely is no high moun-
tain resort of the first order that will quite compare with the Rocky
Mountain National Park. Three railroads to Denver skirt its sides,
and Denver is only 30 hours from St. Louis and Chicago.
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ROCKY MOUNTAIN SHEEP
This range was once a famous hunting ground for large game.
Lord Dunraven, the English sportsman, visited it yearly to shoot its
deer, bear, and bighorn sheep, and acquired large holdings by pur-
chase of homesteading and squatters' claims, much of which was
reduced in the contests that followed. Now that the Government
has made it a national park, the protection offered its wild animals
is making it a successful wild-animal refuge.
These lofty rocks are the natural home of the celebrated Rocky
Mountain sheep or bighorn. This animal is much larger than any
Courtesy Denver Tourist Bureau
View from Continental Divide in Rocky Mountain National Park
domestic sheep. It is powerful and wonderfully agile. When flee-
ing from enemies these sheep, even the lambs, make remarkable
descents down seemingly impossible slopes. They do not land on
their curved horns, as many persons declare, but upon their four feet
held close together. Landing on some near-by ledge, which breaks
their fall they immediately plunge again downward to another ledge,
and so on till they reach good footing in the valley below. They
ascend slopes surprisingly steep. They are more agile even than
the celebrated chamois of the Swiss Alps, and are larger, more
OUR NATIONAL PARKS 41
powerful, and much handsomer. It is something not to be forgotten
to see a dozen or more mountain sheep making their way along the
volcanic flow which constitutes Specimen Mountain in the Rocky
Mountain National Park.
LONGS PEAK AND THE GLACIER RECORDS
The prominent central feature of the Rocky Mountain National
Park is Longs Peak. It rears a square-cornered, boxlike head well
above the tumbled sea of surrounding mountain tops. It has, unlike
most great mountains, a distinct architectural form. Standing well
to the east of the range at about its center, it suggests the captain
of a white-helmeted company; the giant leader of a giant band. It
is supported on four sides by mountain buttresses, suggesting the
stone buttresses of a central cathedral spire. From every side it
looks the same, yet remarkably different. One does not know Longs
Peak until he has seen it from every side, and then it becomes to him
not a mountain mass but an architectural creation.
For many years Longs Peak was considered unscalable. But at
last a way Avas found through an opening in perpendicular rocks
called, from its shape, the Keyhole, out upon a steep slope leading
from near its summit far down to a precipice upon its west side.
The east side of Longs Peak is a nearly sheer precipice almost 2,000
feet from the extreme top down to Chasm Lake, which was the start-
ing point of a gigantic glacier in times long before man. Chasm
Lake, which is reached by trail from the valley, is one of the wildest
lakes in nature. It is frozen 11 months of the year.
There is no region in America where glacial records of such promi-
nence are more numerous and more easily reached and studied than
in the Rocky Mountain National Park. The whole country has
been fantastically cut and carved by gigantic glaciers of the prehis-
toric past. Their ancient beds, now grown with forests, their huge
moraines, their cirques, or starting places, are, next to the vast
mountains themselves, the most prominent features of the region.
The Fall River Road offers one of the most attractive and impres-
sive scenic automobile trips in the country. It crosses the Conti-
nental Divide within the Rocky Mountain National Park and reaches
an altitude of 11,797 feet.
The trip starts from Denver, goes through the Rocky Mountain
National Park, crosses the Continental Divide, reaches Grand Lake,
crosses the Continental Divide again at Berthoud Pass, traverses
the Denver Mountain Parks, and returns to Denver, having com-
pleted without any duplication 240 miles of comfortable travel
through magnificent country, full of interest and variety.
42 OUll NATIONAL PABKS
THE HAWAII NATIONAL PARK
Special Characteristics: Large Volcanoes, Two Active, Including" the
Kilauea Lake of Fire
THE Hawaiian Islands are a land of coral reefs, tropical palms
and flowers, pineapples and sugar-cane, midday siestas, rain-
bows, music, earthquakes and volcanic violence. They have a his-
tory which is a romance. Their very mention evokes visions of
girls dancing under tropical stars to the ukulele. They possess the
fourth largest volcanic crater in the world, the largest active volcano,
and a lake of turbulent sulphurous fire, which fills the beholder
It was not the gentle poetic aspects of the Hawaiian Islands which
led Congress to create a national park there, though these form its
romantic contrasted setting. It was the extraordinary volcanic
exhibit, that combination of thrilling spectacles of Nature's colossal
j>ower, which for years has drawn travelers from the four quarters
of the earth. The Hawaii National Park includes the summits of
three volcanoes of world celebrity — Haleakala, on the island of Maui,
and Mauna Loa and Kilauea, on the island of Hawaii.
There are 12 islands in all, 8 of which are hospitable enough for
habitation. They rose from the ocean's bottom in a series of sub-
marine eruptions. Coral growths have enlarged and enriched them
since. Kauii was the first island to develop habitable conditions,
and those to its southeast followed in order. Hawaii, the youngest,
is still in the building. Dead Haleakala on the island of Maui has
been inactive for centuries.
The popular translation of the name Haleakala is " The House of
the Sun"; literally the word means "The house built by the sun."
The volcano is a monster of more than 10,000 feet, which bears upon
its summit a crater of a size and beauty that makes it one of the
world's show places. This crater is 8 miles long by 3 miles wide.
Its surrounding walls rise 2,000 feet. Its broad, rolling, rainless,
sandy floor is decorated with plants famous under the name of silver
swords; yuccalike shrubs 3 or 4 feet high, whose drooping filaments
of bloom gleam like polished stilettos. From this great gray floor
within its lava rim rise, to a height of several hundred feet, 13 vol-
canic cones. " It must have been awe inspiring," writes Castle,
wi when its cones were spouting fire, and rivers of scarlet molten lava
crawled along the floor." That the crater was left in all its beauty
OUR NATIONAL PAEKS 43
is due to the fact that enormous side vents drained the fires from
Sunrise and sunset are the magic hours when the immense bowl
and its cratered cones catch a hundred fleeting tints to mingle with
their silver. Midnight and moonlight parties climb the mountain
to see the sunrise glories, or make the trip in the afternoon in order
to have the additional enjoyment of the wonder of the sunset. Visi-
tors return loquacious with the myriad charms of the islands, but
silent about Haleakala's morning and evening splendor; it baffles
speech. Sometimes at the sunset hour is seen the Brocken specter.
The lowering sun throws upon the rising mists the shadow of the
watcher upon the rim and encircles it with a rainbow frame.
Upon the island of Hawaii, across 60 miles of water from Maui,
another section of the national park incloses Mauna Loa, greatest
of living volcanoes, and Kilauea's celebrated lake of fire. These are
different volcanoes, but so huge has grown Mauna Loa, the greater
and the younger, that Kilauea has been nearly absorbed in his spread-
Mauna Loa soars 13,675 feet. Its snowy dome shares with Mauna
Kea, which rises even higher, the summit honors of the islands.
From Hilo, the principal port of the island of Hawaii, Mauna Loa
suggests the back of a leviathan, its body hidden in the mists. The
way up, through forests of ancient mahogany and tangles of giant
tree fern, then up brilliantly colored lava slopes, is one of the in-
spiring tours in the mountain world. The summit crater, Mokua-
weoweo, 3 miles long by l 1 /^ miles wide, is as spectacular in action
as that of Kilauea.
This enormous volcanic mass has grown of its own output in
comparatively a short time. For many decades it has been extraor-
dinarily frequent in eruption. Every 5 or 10 years it gets into
action with violence, sometimes at the summit, oftener of recent
years since the central vent has lengthened, at weakened places on
its sides. Few volcanoes have been so regularly and systematically
The most spectacular exhibit of the Hawaii National Park is the
lake of fire in the crater of Kilauea, although at times this lake has
Kilauea is unusual among volcanoes. It follows few of the popular
conceptions. Older than the towering Mauna Loa, its height is
only 4,000 feet. Its lavas have found vents through its flanks, which
44 OUR NATIONAL PARKS
they have broadened and flattened; doubtless its own lavas have
helped Mauna Loa's to merge the two mountains into one. Its
crater is not bowl shaped. From the middle of a broad flat plain,
which really is what is left of the ancient great crater, drops a pit
with vertical sides within which boil its lavas. This pit, the lake
of fire, is Halemaumau, commonly translated " The House of Ever-
lasting Fire." Since 1790, when it destroyed a native army, until
1924, it ejected neither rocks nor ashes. In September, 1923,
the lake of lava suddenly disappeared, but it gradually returned
until by December the pit contained a 50-acre lake of seething lava.
Lava geysers traveling across its surface sent up incandescent sprays
150 feet into the air. . This brilliant display continued for two months,
Photograph by Tai Sing Loo
Halemaumau, the Fire-Pit of Kilauea Crater, Hawaii National Park
and then, with the crater nearly full, a large dome slowly formed on
the lake. This dome burst with a roar, sending large sheets of lava
many feet into the air. The lake again disappeared and crumbling
masses of rock fell into the smoking pit, choking the vents through
which the volcanic gases had escaped. A few months later, when
the volcanic gases unexpectedly returned, the vents were cleared by
tremendous explosions hurling ashes for miles into the air, and red-
hot bowlders weighing many tons were hurled half a mile away.
During the 3-week period of explosive eruptions the crater enlarged
to four times its former size, the opening now being 190 acres in area
and 1,200 feet deep.
Six weeks later, when all was again normal, a roaring geyser
appeared at the bottom of the pit, sending up a steady spray of lava
200 feet high, building up a small cinder cone, and forming a 10-acre
OTJB N ITIONAL PARKS 45
lava lake on the floor of the pit. After two weeks' brilliant display
this fountain subsided and the volcano became dormant. In July,
1927, a similar display lasted for two weeks, and the following Janu-
ary there was a return of activity for one night only. That the fires
are ever smoldering is shown by the gas and vapor that rise con-
tinually from the depths, depositing sulphur. The lake of fire is
expected again to reoccupy the pit as it did throughout the century
preceding the explosive eruption of 1924.
Two miles and a little more from Halemaumau, on a part of the
ancient crater wall, stands the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, which
is maintained by the Department of the Interior. One may approach
the fiery pit through forests of mahogany, sandalwood, and giant
tree fern ; then across long stretches of hard lava congealed in ropes
and ripples and strange contortions. Then the pit. The traveler
reaches it suddenly. From its rim he looks perpendicularly down
hundreds of feet into a cavity 3,000 by 3,500 feet in area. The
spectacle is weird beyond description.
" The lake of fire," writes William E. Castle, " is a greenish yellow,
cut with ragged cracks of red that look like pale streaks of station-
ary lightning across its surface. It is restless, breathing rapidly,
bubbling up at one point and sinking down in another ; throwing up
sudden fountains of scarlet molten lava that play a few minutes and
subside, leaving shimmering mounds which gradually settle to the
level surface of the lake, turning brown and yellow as they sink."
It is an appalling spectacle at night.
Such is " The House of Everlasting Fire " to-day. But who can
say what it will be a year or a decade hence ? A clogging or a shift-
ing of the vents 10,000 feet below sea level, and Kilauea's lake of fire
may become again explosive. Who will deny that Kilauea may yet
soar even above Mauna Loa ? Stranger things have happened before
this in the Islands of Surprise.
THE LASSEN VOLCANIC NATIONAL PARK
Special Characteristic : Volcano in Semiaction
ONE of the greatest fields of former volcanic activity in the world
lies in the northwestern corner of the United States; its Lavas
cover a quarter of a million square miles and include large areas
of the States of Washington and Oregon and portions of California,
Nevada, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Most of this great region
now, of course, blooms with forest and prairie. The origin of its
soil foundations is apparent only to the eye of the geologist except
where the ice-clad cones of monster volcanoes rise from the Cascade
Range, where Lassen Peak still vomits smoke and steam, and where
OIK NATIONAL PARKS
remnants of twisted lava emerge, as on Mount Washburn, above the
forests of Yellowstone.
To-day Lassen Peak only is aggressive, and for this reason Con-
gress has set it apart as a national park. Here alone within the
borders of the United States may be seen and studied the phenomena
of volcanic activity.
Lassen Peak is in northern California at the southern end of the
Cascade Range. It had been quiet for 200 years. Then, at the end
of May, 1914, as if precursor of the cataclysm of war so soon to
follow, an explosion from its summit ushered in a new period of
eruption which, feeble as compared with those of its violent past,
Lassen Peak, Lassen Volcanic National Park
was magnificent as a spectacle and educationally typical of
From the first explosion to the end of January, 1916, Lassen re-
mained in more or less constant eruption. Within that period oc-
curred 220 explosions, between which the volcano emitted day and
night enormous quantities of smoke and steam.
The greatest of the explosions occurred May 22, 1915, nearly a
year after the eruptions began. It was ushered in by the rising of a
mushroom-shaped cloud of smoke to a height of 4 miles. Another
interesting phenomenon of this explosion was the superheated gas
blast which rushed down Lost Creek and Hat Creek Valleys during
its continuance. For 10 miles it withered or destroyed every living
thing in its path. Large trees were uprooted. Forests were scorched
OUR NATIONAL, PARKS 47
to a cinder, spreading fires. Large snow fields were instantly turned
to water and flooded the lower valleys in rushing tides. Fortunately
summer visitors had been well warned.
Examination showed that this explosion had opened a new fissure
extending 1,000 feet from the summit down the slope toward Chaos
Crags, the old and the new craters, now joined in one of irregular
shape, filled to the brim with lava, forming what geologists call a
lid. After this great explosion activity declined rapidly.
The national park has great natural charm as well as scientific
interest. The lava forms, ancient as well as modern, are fantastic
and striking. Its f umaroles, its very hot springs, its lofty ragged peak,
and twisted crater, its extremely interesting Cinder Cone, its minor
vents, all have also a strange, almost uncanny, beauty. And these
volcanic exhibits are set in an area of forests and ice-cold lakes and
rushing trout streams, which add the enchantment of vivid contrasts.
THE MOUNT McKINLEY NATIONAL PARK
Special Characteristic : A Snow-Clad Mountain More Than 20,000 Feet High
Rising- From a Rolling' Plateau, Peopled With Caribou and Mountain
THE highest mountain in North America, scenically speaking the
highest in the world, together with an enormous expanse of roll-
ing plateau on its north and west, was made a national park in 1917.
Mount McKinley rises from the great Alaska range 20,300 feet above
sea level. Down its southern and eastern slopes througk a region of
arctic sublimity flow glaciers of enormous size, but north and west
its sides abruptly drop to grassy valleys only 3,000 feet in altitude.
From these valleys, some of which also have impressive glaciers, visi-
tors to the national park may look up 17,000 feet of mountain, a
spectacle greater by far than greets the eyes of those who climb into
the lofty valleys of the Himalayas to see the several mountains there
whose heights measured from sea level exceed McKinley's.
The caribou, with its enormous antlers, is a most picturesque
animal, the American representative of the reindeer family. Herds
of 1,000 to 1,500 roam the great plateau. Bands of mountain sheep
varying from 20 to 100 are seen in the hills along the trail. Moose
also frequently invade the region from the Tanana lowlands on the
north, and the great Alaska brown bear is not infrequently met, even
within the belt of perpetual snow.
It is this great treeless plateau, with its rich mosses and grasses.
its sudden prominences rising like islands, its sweeping ranges of
low hills, its lakes, its innumerable rushing streams, its fertile flow-
48 OUR NATIONAL PARKS
ered valleys and friendly animals, its long winding approachable
glaciers, and its background of the Alaska Range and Master Moun-
tain, which is the Mount McKinley National Park. It is an area
unlike any other national park; its charm and inspiration are all
Mount McKinley is two-headed. It is the South Peak which is
the summit. From the North and the South Peaks, supporting them
like ice buttresses, descend northward long ridges which merge in
the foothills, and between these ridges flow from the divide between
Photograph by Alaska Railroad
Mount McKinley, the Highest Mountain in Nokth America and,
SCENICALLY SPEAKING, THE HIGHEST IN THE WORLD
the peaks a series of great glaciers which constitute the only known
passage to the summit.
Various attempts have been made to climb Mount McKinley but
only one has been authenticated, that of Archdeacon Stuck and Harry
P. Karstens. In the spring of 1913 they ascended the glaciers on the
north side and reached the summit on that rarest of occasions at the
top of McKinley, a perfect day.
Credit should be given Judge Wickersham, of Alaska, as the pio-
neer to make the attempt. His effort was made in 1903.
OUR NATIONAL, PARKS 49
One other ascent must be mentioned to complete the record, that
of the North Peak in 1910 by a party of adventurous prospectors
headed by Thomas Lloyd ; but Lloyd himself did not go all the way.
It is probable that trying for the summit will not be one of the
popular amusements of the McKinley National Park, but when
roads, trails, and public camps make this wonderland comfortably
accessible, many will find unique pleasure and inspiration in trips
part way up the glaciers into the white land of the avalanche.
THE GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK
Special Characteristic: A Highly Colored Gorge 1 Mile Deep and 4 to 18
Miles Across; 56 of Its 217 Miles of Length Within the Park
THE rain falling in the plowed field forms rivulets in the furrows.
The rivulets unite in a muddy torrent in the roadside gutter.
With succeeding showers the gutter wears an ever-deepening channel
in the soft soil. With the passing season the gutter becomes a gully.
Here and there, in places, its banks undermine and fall in. Here
and there the rivulets from the field wear tiny tributary gullies.
Between the breaks in the banks and the tributaries, irregular masses
of earth remain standing, sometimes resembling mimic cliffs, some-
times washed and worn into mimic peaks and spires.
Such roadside erosion is familiar to us all. A hundred times we
have idly noted the fantastic water-carved walls and minaretted
slopes of these ditches. But seldom, perhaps, have Ave realized that
the muddy roadside ditch and the world famous Grand Canyon of
the Colorado are, from nature's standpoint, identical ; that they differ
only in soil and size.
The arid States of our great Southwest constitute an enormous
plateau or table-land from four to eight thousand feet above sea
level. It is a plateau of sun-baked conglomerate and loose soils from
which emerge occasional mountain masses of more or less solid rock.
Rain seldom falls, but in winter the snows lie heavy in the moun-
tains. In the spring the snows melt and torrents of water wear
temporary beds in the loose soils.
In ages before history the Colorado River probably flowed upon
the surface of this lofty table-land. But, like the roadside ditch, it
gradually wore an ever-deepening channel. In time, as with the
roadside ditch, the banks caved in and the current carried the soil
away. The ever-busy chisels of the untiring winds have carved and
polished through untold centuries.
OUR NATIONAL PARKS
AN UNPARALLELED SPECTACLE
To-day the Colorado flows through a series of self-dug canyons
217 miles in length, a mile deep, and in some places more than a dozen
miles across the top. The sides of these canyons are carved and
fretted beyond description, almost beyond belief; and the strata of
rock and soil exposed by the river's excavations are marvelously
colored. The blues and grays and mauves and reds are second in
Photograph by A. J. Baker
The Colorado River, Grand Canyon National Park
glory only to the canyon's size and sculpture. The colors change
with every changing hour. The morning and the evening shadows
play magician's tricks.
That portion of the canyon which affords the finest spectacle was
created a national park in February, 1919. It is situated in north-
eastern Arizona and is called the Grand Canyon National Park. It
constitutes one of the most astonishing phenomena in nature and one
of the stupendous sights of the world.
OUR NATIONAL PARKS 51
The Colorado River is joined, in southern Utah, by the Green
Eiver. The Colorado drains the western Rockies in Colorado. The
Green rises in northern Utah and drains also a corner of Wyoming.
Together they gather the waters of 300,000 square miles of moun-
tains. "Ten million cascade brooks," writes J. W. Powell, "unite
to form a hundred rivers beset with cataracts; a hundred roaring
rivers unite to form the Colorado, a mad, turbid stream."
Southwest from Utah, the Colorado passes into Arizona through
the noble Marble Canyon and swings west between the mile-high
walls of the mighty Grand Canyon. Thence, emerging into more
open country, it skirts Nevada and California, cuts through Mexico,
and deposits its vast burden of mud in the Gulf of California.
MOSAIC OF DESCRIPTION
Who can describe the Grand Canyon?
" More mysterious in its depth than the Himalayas in their height,"
writes John C. Van Dyke, "the Grand Canyon remains not the
eighth but the first wonder of the world. There is nothing like it."
"Looking down more than half a mile into this 15-by-218-mile
paint pot," writes Joaquin Miller, " I continually ask : Is any 50 miles
of Mother Earth that I have known as fearful, or any part as fear-
ful, as full of glory, as full of God ? "
" To the eye educated to any other," writes Charles Dudley Warner,
"it may be shocking, grotesque, incomprehensible; but those who
have long and carefully studied the Grand Canyon do not hesitate to
pronounce it by far the most sublime of all earthly spectacles."
" The Grand Canyon of Arizona fills me with awe," writes Theo-
dore Roosevelt. "It is beyond comparison — beyond description;
absolutely unparalleled throughout the wide world."
"A pageant of ghastly desolation and yet of frightful vitality,
such as neither Dante nor Milton in their most sublime conceptions
ever even approached," writes William Winter. " Your heart is
moved with feeling that is far too deep for words."
"It has a thousand different moods," writes Hamlin Garland.
" No one can know it for what it is who has not lived with it every
day of the year. It is like a mountain range — a cloud to-day, a wall
of marble to-morrow. When the light falls into it, harsh, direct, and
searching, it is great, but not beautiful. The lines are chaotic, dis-
turbing — but wait! The clouds and the sunset, the moonrise and
the storm will transform it into a splendor no mountain range can
surpass. Peaks will shift and glow, walls darken, crags take fire,
and gray-green mesas, dimly seen, take on the gleam of opalescent
lakes of mountain water."
" It seems a gigantic statement for even nature to make all in
one mighty stone word," writes John Muir. "Wildness so Godful,
35()6°— 30 r>
52 OUR NATIONAL PARKS
cosmic, primeval, bestows a new sense of earth's beauty and size
* * * But the colors, the living, rejoicing colors, chanting, morn-
ing and evening, in chorus to heaven ! Whose brush or pencil, how-
ever lovingly inspired, can give us these? In the supreme flaming
glory of sunset the whole canyon is transfigured, as if all the life and
light of centuries of sunshine stored up in the rocks was now being
poured forth as from one glorious fountain, flooding both earth and
DIFFICULT TO COMPREHEND
Even the most superficial description of this enormous spectacle
may not be put in words. The wanderer upon the rim overlooks a
thousand square miles of pyramids and minarets carved from the
painted depths. Many miles away and more than a mile below the
level of his feet he sees a tiny silver thread which he knows is the
giant Colorado. He is numbed by the spectacle. At first he can
not comprehend it. There is no measure, nothing which the eye can
grasp, the mind fathom.
It may be hours before he can even slightly adjust himself to the
titanic spectacle, before it ceases to be utter chaos, and not until then
does he begin to exclaim in rapture. And he never wholly adjusts
himself, for with dawning appreciation comes growing wonder.
Comprehension lies always just beyond his reach. But it will help
to descend one of these trails which zigzag down the precipitous
cliffs to the river's muddy edge.
The Grand Canyon was first reported to the civilized world by the
early Spanish explorers in 1540. It was first described in 1851 by
the Sitgreaves Expedition. The War Department explored the navi-
gable waters from the south in 1858, but stopped at the foot of the
MAJOR POWELL'S FIRST EXPLORATION
No exploration of the Grand Canyon was made until 1869, when
Maj. J. W. Powell, who afterwards became Director of the United
States Geological Survey, made a perilous passage with a party of
nine men in four small boats. This exploration constitutes one of
the most romantic adventures in American history. Until then it
" Yet enough had been seen to foment rumor," Major Powell wrote
in his report to the Smithsonian Institution, " and many wonderful
stories have been told in the hunter's cabin and prospector's camp.
Stories were related of parties entering the gorge in boats and being
carried down with fearful velocity into whirlpools, where all were
overwhelmed in the abyss of waters ; others, of underground passages
for the great river, into which boats had passed never to be seen again.
It was currently believed that the river was lost under the rocks for
OUR NATIONAL PARKS 53
several hundred miles. There were other accounts of great falls
whose roaring music could be heard, on distant mountain summits."
The passage, while it developed none of these reported dangers,
was sufficiently perilous. Boats were repeatedly upset in the rapids,
food was nearly exhausted, and the adventurers many times barely
escaped destruction. Three men who deserted the party, terrified,
climbed the walls only to be killed by Indians on the rim.
THE ACADIA NATIONAL PARK
Special Characteristics : A group of Granite Mountains Rising From an
Island on the Atlantic Coast With Interesting Headlands on the Near-by
THE first national park in' the East is an area of 16 square miles
on Mount Desert Island, Me., and the adjoining mainland. It
includes a group of low granite mountains abutting the sea, the only
prominent elevation along the entire Atlantic coast of the United
States. Formerly known as the Lafayette National Park, early in
1929 Congress changed its name to Acadia, as this latter word is of
native origin, coming from an Indian word apparently describing
the region. Early fishermen and traders visiting the area, before
recorded explorations of the English and French on their return to
Europe, referred to it as Acadia, the name later used by Longfellow.
The Acadia National Park is not only a varied and beautiful
exhibit of seacoast, mountain, and eastern forest — it is a monument
to the public spirit of New England. These mountains, surrounded
by thriving seashore resorts, had been in private ownership for cen-
turies. The day was fast approaching when they would be utilized
for summer homes. Foreseeing this, George B. Dorr, of Bar Harbor,
Me., determined to acquire them as a gift to the people of the United
States. He created a holding organization, to which he and Charles
}Y. Eliot contributed their holdings, and set about to persuade other
owners to do the same.
It took a dozen years of ceaseless effort to collect 5,000 acres, much
of it by gift, some of it by purchase from funds collected from
public-spirited persons. Then they presented it to the Nation, and it
was made the Sieur de Monts National Monument, This was in 1915.
In 1919 Congress made it the Lafayette National Park. Other con-
tributions have been offered the Government and it is believed that
ultimately the area of the park will be about 20,000 acres. Hardly
a year passes without deeds to additional tracts of land for inclusion
in the park being accepted by the United States.
Compared with the huge bristling peaks of the Rockies and the
Sierra, the mountains of the Acadia National Park are low indeed.
But they are no less beautiful, and they are characteristic of
our East, as the Rocky Mountain and Sierran national parks are
characteristic of our West. There arc more than a do/en mountains
54 OUR NATIONAL PARKS
in the group, which is cut into two parts by a fine fiord called Somes
Sound. Fresh-water lakes lie in the hollows. Forests of coast
pines, cedars, and deciduous trees of many kinds border the lakes and
mount the gray sides of the mountains. Innumerable shrubs and
flowering plants decorate the forest aisles. The region is a wilder-
ness typical of the noblest woodlands of the East.
Chief of all is the mingling of mountain and sea. The waves
lash their abrupt rock-bound heights, beating hollows in their foun-
dations, undermining the granite. From the mountain tops gor-
geous views are revealed of sea and sound, island and wooded main-
land. The air is now fragrant with the breath of the forest, now
Photograph by Herbert W. Gleasou
View Across Frenchman's Bay, Acadia National Park
charged with the savor of the sea. The visitor has his choice of
many pleasures. He may vary his days on the mountains with salt-
water bathing, boating, sailing, and fishing. He may walk and
motor; the park is surrounded by a fine waterside drive; roads
cross it along the shores of Somes Sound. There are many hotels
in Bar Harbor and other neighborhood resorts.
Besides nature's rich endowment, history adds its charm. This
was the first land within the United States which was reached by
Champlain; it was in 1604. The first European settlement in
America north of the Gulf of Mexico was here. The mountains
bear names which memorialize its French and English occupations
and its many associations with the romance of early days.
OUR NATIONAL PARKS 55
THE HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK
Special Characteristic: Medicinal Hot Springs
AS DIFFERENT, almost, as possible from the great scenic
- national parks which we have been considering, but in its own
particular way as extraordinary as any of them, the Hot Springs
National Park in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas must be ac-
corded a distinguished place among American resorts of national
character and ownership. The park is in one sense the oldest na-
tional park, having been created a special reservation in 1832, 40
Photograph by Eckler
Entrance to Hot Springs National Park
years before the wonders of the Yellowstone first inspired Congress
with the idea that scenery was a national asset deserving of preserva-
tion for the use and enjoyment of succeeding generations. It was
given national park status by Congress in 1921.
No esthetic consideration was involved in this early act of national
conservation. Congress was inspired only by the undoubted, but at
that time inexplicable, power of these waters to alleviate certain
bodily ills. The motive was to retain these unique waters in public
possession in order that they should be available to all persons for
all time at a minimum, even a nominal, cost.
The country is one of much beauty. Hot Springs Mountain, from
whose sides flow the cleansing waters, is about 50 miles west by
56 OUR NATIONAL PARKS
south from Little Rock. Here, as early as 1804, began the settle-
ment which has developed into the prosperous and growing city of
Hot Springs. It is a resort city, made wealthy from the many
thousands of visitors seeking health from the adjacent Government
springs and pleasure in the high and beautiful neighborhood country
with its excellent drives and woodland paths, its mountain and river
views, its social gayeties, and its exceptional golf.
Adjoining the borders of the city at the mountain's foot lies the
park, a tract of 927 acres inclosing all the 46 hot springs. Nine bath-
houses are in the reservation and 10 more in the city, all under
Government regulation. In the city are many hotels and boarding-
houses with a wide range of rates to meet all pocketbooks. The
Department of the Interior has spent altogether more than a million
dollars on the development of the park. The park contains, also,
an Army and Navy hospital.
Tradition has it that the medicinal properties of the hot springs
were known to the Indians long before the Spanish invasion. It is
probable that they were known to De Soto, who died in 1542 less than
a hundred miles away. It is tradition that Indian tribes warred for
their possession but that finally a truce was made which enabled all
tribes to avail alike of their waters.
Government analyses of the waters disclose more than 20 chemi-
cal constituents, and it is these or their combination to which is prin-
cipally attributed the water's virtue in many diseased conditions.
THE ZION NATIONAL PARK
Special Characteristic : Vividly Colored and Fantastically Carved Sandstone
Cliffs Bordering a Deep Valley
NOT many miles north of the Grand Canyon National Park the
desert of southern Utah finds its most gorgeous expression in a
deep canyon between sandstone cliffs of great height and vivid color.
Here the famous Vermilion Cliff, whose brilliant red precipice
brightens more than a hundred desert miles, joins the glistening
White Cliff, another desert feature of celebrity, the white overlying
the red. Here, too, sandstones and shales of many other hues unite
in dazzling combination. The canyon of Mukuntuweap River, cut-
ting vertically down 2,500 feet, displays these colors in many majestic
and fantastically modeled masses.
The gorge has been known to the Mormons since the late fifties,
and was first explored in 1862. The early pioneers, being deeply
religious, named it Little Zion Canyon. In 1872 it was explored and
described by members of the Powell Survey. In 1909 the area was,
for scientific reasons, reserved as the Mukuntuweap National Monu-
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ment. It was not until 1916 that its great scenic beauty became
known outside the immediate locality. In 1918 the monument was
enlarged and the name changed to Zion. Finally, on November 19,
1919, it was created the Zion National Park by act of Congress.
This gorgeous valley has about the same dimensions as the famous
Yosemite Valley. Extraordinary as are the sandstone forms, the
color is what most amazes. The gorgeous red of the Vermilion Cliff
is the prevailing tint. Two-thirds the way up these marvelous walls
and temples are painted gorgeous reds; then above the reds they
rise in startling white. Sometimes the white is surmounted by a cap
of vivid red, remains of another red stratum which once overlay all.
Photograph by George L. Beam
A Horseback Party in Zion National Park, Angel's Landing in the
The other colors are many and brilliant. The Vermilion Cliff rests
upon 350 feet of even a more insistent red relieved by mauve and
purple shale. That in turn rests upon a hundred feet of other
Through these successive layers of sands and shales and lime-
stones, colored like a Roman sash, glowing in the sun like a rainbow,
the Mukuntuweap River has cut its amazing valley.
Zion National Park is reached by an automobile ride of 62 miles
from the railroad through a vividly colored sandstone country.
Motorists driving their own cars can visit the park by a side trip of
35 miles from the Arrowhead Trail over excellent highway. The
58 OUR NATIONAL PARKS
entrance is between two gigantic stone masses of complicated archi-
tectural proportions which are appropriately named the East and
The West Temple is the greatest of the mountains forming the
walls of Zion Canyon, and is also one of the great monoliths of the
world. From a stairway of many colors it springs abruptly 4,000
feet. Its body is red, and its upper third is white. The East Tem-
ple, which rises directly opposite, stands as a sky-line sentinel on the
east side of the gorge.
Passing the gates the traveler stands in a canyon of nearly per-
pendicular sides more than half a mile deep, half a mile wide at the
bottom, a mile wide from crest to crest, whose walls glow with color.
On the west the Streaked Wall, carved from the White Cliff, is
wonderfully eroded. Opposite is the Brown Wall, rich of hue, sup-
porting three stupendous structures of gorgeous color, known as the
Three Wise Men. Opposite these rise on the west the Three Patri-
archs, Yosemitelike in form, height, and bulk but not in personality
A mile beyond stands El Gobernador, the most remarkable mono-
lith of the region. This mighty rock, better known as the Great
White Throne, is a colossal truncated dome, mostly white or gray in
color, with streaks of red throughout. The white crown is heavily
marked in two directions, suggesting the web and woof of drapery.
Directly opposite, a lesser monolith, nevertheless gigantic, is called
Angels Landing. A natural bridge which is still in nature's work-
shop is one of the interesting spectacles of this vicinity. Its splendid
arch is fully formed, but the wall against which it rests its full
length remains, broken through in one spot only.
THE BBYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK
Special Characteristic: Box Canyon Filled With Countless Array of Fan-
tastically Eroded Pinnacles of Vivid Coloring"
BBYCE CANYON, located in the same general desert region that
produced the Grand Canyon and Zion, was established as the
twentieth member of the national park system on September 15, 1928.
Previous to this it had been a national monument for five years.
In reality Bryce is not a canyon, but rather an immense bowl or
amphitheater cut into the top of the Paunsagunt Plateau to a depth
of 1,000 feet. It is 3 miles long and 2 miles wide, and the space
between the upper rims is filled with an almost endless variety of
shapes and forms carved by the sculpturing forces of erosion. These
fantastic carvings vie in interest with the brilliant exotic color that
glows throughout. The top of the plateau is composed of white or
pale lemon colored sandstone, and along the irregular edges of the
OUR NATIONAL PARKS
canyon are steep slopes of this sandstone merging into the pinks and
reds of the lower layers. It is out of these pinks and reds, sometimes
streaked with lavender and brown, that the greater portion of the
Spires and Minarets ok Bbyoe Canyon
curious shapes are cut, rising from the bottom of the canyon or
clinging close to its sides. The taller formations are tipped with
white or cream, but the greater number glow throughout with the
60 OUR NATIONAL PARKS
deeper colors of the canyon. It is a miracle of erosion, astounding in
Always exquisite, sunset and sunrise bring added beauty to Bryce
Canyon. In the light of the setting sun the colors shimmer and
change with the lengthening shadows, finally fading from view as
though a veil of mystery were drawn over it all. At sunrise it is if
possible even lovelier. As the rays of rosy light shoot up into the
sky, higher and brighter, a glorious spectacle is revealed. At one's
feet the highest points are touched with light and cast long mauve
shadows downward into the depths of the amphitheater. Suddenly
the sun appears, seeming to roll over the edge of the plateau out
into the world. Then Bryce is supremely beautiful. The topmost
peaks of the towers and spirelike formations in the background in-
tercept the sun's rays and glow as though each peak were lighted
within by eternal fires. It is a superb sight, worth the loss of many
THE GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK
Special Characteristic: Spectacular Teton Mountains, A Granite Uplift of
THE Grand Teton National Park was created early in 1929.
It is located about 11 miles south of the southern boundary
of Yellowstone National Park. The Teton Mountains, its main
feature, are granite, as contrasted with the volcanic mountains of
The Grand Teton Mountain group, scenic climax of the park, is
one of the noblest in the world, and one of the few that can be
described accurately as cathedrallike. Its great central spire is
formed by the summit of the Grand Teton itself. On approaching
this mountain group from the north, the visitor beholds a vast
cathedral, built of granite and shaped by glaciers, of which the rem-
nants are still at work. From the east and south the Grand Teton
strikingly resembles the Matterhorn of the Alps. The elevation of
this peak is 13,747 feet, while Mount Owen and Middle Teton, the
next highest mountains of the park, rise to 12,910 and 12,769 feet,
Toward Jackson Hole the Teton Range presents one of the most
precipitous mountain fronts on the continent, indeed in the world.
Forty miles in length, it springs abruptly from Jackson Hole and
only a few miles west of its base attains elevations of from 9,000 feet
to nearly 14,000 feet above sea level. Thus most of the range is lifted
above timber line into the realm of perpetual snow, and in its deeper
OUR NATION AT, PA I IKS
recesses small glaciers still linger. West of Jenny Lake the Tetons
culminate in a central group of spires whose summits tower more than
a mile above Jackson Hole. These are the mountains included in the
Grand Teton National Park. The grandeur of the beetling gray-
crags, sheer precipices, and perennial snowfields is vastly enhanced
by the total absence of foothills, and by contrast with the relatively
flat floor of Jackson Hole.
In this park, as in Glacier, Yosemite, Rocky Mountain, and others,
the glaciers of the ice age played the leading role in developing the
extraordinary scenic features. Just as the streams now converge
toward Jackson Hole, so in ages past glaciers moved down toward,
and in many instances into, the basin from the highlands to the east,
Camping in Sight of the Tetons
north, and west. Where Jackson Lake now is there undoubtedly lay
a great, sluggish field of ice, probably fed largely from the northern
end of the Teton Range but possibly having connections with a much
larger ice mass in the Yellowstone Park region.
The principal lakes of the park — Leigh, Jenny, Bradley, Taggart,
and Phelps, as well as Jackson Lake — are all inclosed in glacial
moraines. They are exquisitely beautiful as they nestle in the forests
at the foot of the Tetons and mirror the towering summits in their
quiet waters. There are no lakes along the eastern border of the
.Jackson Hole basin because on this side none of the valley glaciers
of the latest glacial stage extended far enough into the basin.
The visitor should climb a few hundred feet up the mountain side
near Jenny Lake and look down on this superb array of lakes. From
62 OUR NATIONAL PARKS
this vantage point can be seen how each lake lies outside the mouth of
a canyon, and how each occupies a basin formed by a crescent-shaped
moraine, the points of which extend back to each side of the canyon.
Each lake is filled to the rim, so that the water spills over at a low
place and cascades down to the floor of Jackson Hole, where Cotton-
wood Creek, in passing, collects the streams one by one. Only Leigh
and Jenny Lakes are accessible by automobile.
Jackson Lake, which must once have been the most charming and
beautiful of all the lakes of this glorious wilderness region, was
despoiled by the erection of a dam at its outlet, and because of its
vast areas of dead trees and its unsightly shores it was not included
in the park.
THE CARLSBAD CAVERNS NATIONAL PARK
Special Characteristic: Series of Connected Caverns, Believed to Be the
Largest in the World, With Magnificent Limestone Decorations
THE Carlsbad Caverns National Park contains the largest series
of underground caverns yet explored. Because of its magni-
tude and the beauty of its limestone caverns, the area was given
national-park status in May, 1930. Formerly it had been designated
a national monument under the administration of the Department
of the Interior.
This underground wonder, 30 miles distant from the town of Carls-
bad in southeastern New Mexico, consists of a series of lofty, spacious
chambers and connecting corridors, with alcoves extending off to the
sides, that are of remarkable beauty. Its limestone decorations excel
those of any caves heretofore discovered.
The most impressive portion of the Carlsbad Caverns is the Big
Room, an enormous chamber a mile and a half from the entrance.
It is nearly 4,000 feet long, with a maximum width of 625 feet. At
one place the ceiling rises to a height of 300 feet. In this room the
limestone formations are superbly beautiful and of an infinite variety
of sizes and shapes. The stalactites vary from almost needlelike
proportions to huge chandeliers, and the stalagmites are equally
varied, though of different contours. One group of unusually tall
and graceful stalagmites resembles the totem poles of the Alaskan
Indians and others are like snow-banked forests.
The most outstanding formation in this room is the Giant Dome,
62 feet high, 16 feet in diameter, with a striking resemblance to the
Leaning Tower of Pisa. Scientists estimate the age of this great
dome at 60,000,000 years.
Near by are the fountain basins, lined with masses of crystalline
onyx marble, which remind one of the hot-springs formations of
OUE NATIONAL PARKS 63
Yellowstone National Park. The basins are decorated at the rim
with crusts of onyx resembling lily pads, formed at the surface of
the water in much the same way that ice forms around the edge
of a pool.
Other interesting rooms, nearer the entrance, are the King's Palace
and the Queen's Chamber. The former is almost circular in form.
Carlsbad Caverns — Rear view of Twin Domes
and under the illumination of the electric lights is probably the most
striking room in the entire cave system. In this portion of the cav-
erns curtains and partitions of gleaming onyx, formed by deposition
of lime carbonate from waters dripping from the roof, separate the
chambers. In places the stalactites have grown together laterally to
form the curtains. Some of these reach the floor, while shorter ones
resemble a stage curtain partly raised. All through the caves these
64 OUR NATIONAL PARKS
curtains are encountered, some draped, others folded. Some are so
delicate and translucent that a light placed behind them brings out
faint tints of pink and tea rose.
Altogether 7 miles of the caverns have been made accessible to
visitors through the construction of trails and stairways and the in-
stallation of an excellent flood-lighting system. Properly to cover
this distance requires about six hours, with a half -hour stop for lunch
in the depths of the earth. Other portions of the cave will be open
to visitors as the trails and lighting system are extended.
Astounding as are the upper passages and chambers, with their
millions of pendants hanging from the ceilings, their great columns
and curtains, below them lies another vast subterranean apartment
which equals, if it does not excel, that already familiar to visitors.
Off to the sides also are passageways of exquisite beauty, differing
greatly in type from the more accessible areas.
An interesting feature of the caverns to the adventurous mind is
the fact that always beyond lies some region, probably of equal
beauty, perhaps entirely new in type of decorations, waiting to be
explored. The scientific explorations of the National Geographic
Society during a period of six months covered about 21 miles, and
four additional miles have been explored since then, part within the
Of interest, also, are the bat flights from Carlsbad Caverns, which
each evening during the summer may be seen for about two or three
hours. About dusk these little animals, which during the day rest
in a portion of the cave not reached by visitors, start coming out. At
first only a few in number, they increase steadily until they form a
black column, which seen from a distance, resembles smoke. It has
been estimated that nearly 3,000,000 bats leave the cave on these
nightly forays, always flying south as they come out. Early next
morning they return, but not from the south. Somehow during their
flights they must have made a big circle, for they invariably return
from the north.
It was the " smoke " of the bats issuing from the natural opening
to the cave which first attracted the attention of its discoverer, Jim
White, a cowboy of the region. Accompanied by a Mexican boy, he
made extensive explorations of the caverns, making possible his
return by leaving behind him a trail of string. Later at odd times
he conducted visitors into the area, and news of "Bat Cave," as it
was then called, came to the attention of the General Land Office and
then of the National Geographic Society, leading to the explorations
which have made Carlsbad Caverns famous throughout the world.
Under the act of Congress making Carlsbad Caverns a national
park, the President of the United States has authority to add to the
park, by proclamation, surrounding lands up to a total of 193 square
OUR NATIONAL PARKS 65
miles additional. The surface boundaries of the original reserva-
tion took in only 719 acres, despite the fact that the caverns extend
for miles underground.
An investigation will be made by the Department of the Interior
to determine just how much of the authorized lands should be added
to provide adequate surface protection to the caves, as well as broader
surface developments needed in connection with the greatly increas-
ing number of visitors each year.
The surface lands of the park give life to a profusion of the strange
plants of the desert. Alike in belonging mostly to the cactus family,
with a fibrous toughness and protection by hook, barb, and spine,
their variety of form is amazing. Several times higher than man
grow some of these desert plants, like the yucca and the sotol plant,
while others are delicate growths to be measured in inches. The
spring flowers of the region are a revelation to those unfamiliar with
the flora of the Southwest.
OTHER NATIONAL PARKS
r | ^HREE further national parks may be briefly mentioned.
PLATT NATIONAL PARK
Sulphur and other beneficent springs, hot and cold, which gush
plentifully from an area of 1% square miles in southern Oklahoma,
was the reason for the creation of the Piatt National Park in 1902.
It lies in a high country of considerable charm and delightful climate.
WIND CAVE NATIONAL PARK
The following year Congress made a national park of a remarkable
limestone cavern in the Black Hills of southwestern South Dakota,
not far from one of Custer's famous battle fields. Its name, Wind
Cave, comes from a current of air which passes in and out of its
mouth intermittently. The walls, ceilings, and floors of the many
large and involved passages and chambers are elaborately decorated
with the fantastic formations usual in limestone caves.
The park has a surface area of 17 square miles, a part of which is
maintained as a national game preserve for bison, elk, and antelope.
SULLYS HILL NATIONAL PARK
Local demand for national parks during this period resulted also in
the establishment of a national reservation in North Dakota under
the name of Sullys Hill National Park. It is a picturesque forested
tract bordering a lake. In addition to being a wild-animal preserve,
it has historic associations.
Old Faithful Geyser
yellowstone national park